Jay Sherrerd '52 would have looked out on the new FieldTurf for Princeton lacrosse and seen the plans for the facility expansion and been happy. Anything good for Princeton was just fine with Sherrerd.
Then he would have heard the name of the new lacrosse field and wondered what all the fuss was about. As generous as he was, he was even more modest.
Sherrerd, who passed away nearly four years ago, will be the namesake of the new turf, which will be known officially as Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium.
"I am grateful to the generous alumni, parents, and friends who have provided our lacrosse and field hockey athletes with the ideal playing surfaces for their sports, while making possible much needed improvements to the surrounding infrastructure," says University President Shirley M. Tilghman. "It is especially fitting that the Class of 1952 Stadium's field will honor Jay Sherrerd, whose devotion to his class and Princeton as a whole was truly inspirational."
Sherrerd is a legendary figure in Princeton University history, from his undergraduate degree in economics to a 20-year tenure as a Trustee and devoted attendance at the final 55 Reunions of his life.
He was a class leader who served on the boards of the Princeton Investment Company, the Robertson Foundation Investment Committee, the Trustees Executive Committee, and the 250th anniversary celebration. In addition to being a primary donor for the original Class of 1952 Stadium project, Jay Sherrerd also donated Sherrerd Hall, endowed a professorship, set up several memorial funds, and contributed generously to almost every aspect of the Princeton experience.
Sherrerd, who also fought in the Korean War, died on April 9, 2008, at the age of 78.
"When it came to the Princeton intercollegiate athletic program, Jay Sherrerd '52 was an enthusiastic and universal supporter of all our teams, men and women, and a true devotee to our commitment to Education Through Athletics," says Princeton Director of Athletics Gary Walters. "It is only fitting that the Sherrerd name will be forever linked with the field located within the Stadium named after his class - '52. Jay's lifelong example of generosity to Princeton has also inspired the next generation of Lacrosse and Field Hockey donors to follow in his footsteps and now provide first class facilities for our lacrosse and field hockey student-athletes. Appropriately, the Sherrerd legacy lives on."
Sherrerd Field will consist of the brand-new FieldTurf that was installed when the existing artificial turf was removed following the 2011 field hockey season in Phase 1 of the reconstruction.
Class of 1952 Stadium opened with the 1996 field hockey season, and it has been the home for Princeton lacrosse (though some men's and women's games have been played in Princeton Stadium) and field hockey since.
Beginning this fall with Phase 2 of the project, there will be separate facilities for lacrosse and field hockey.
The men's and women's lacrosse teams will be playing on Sherrerd Field. The field hockey team will move a few yards away to Bedford Field, which is now the grass practice field adjacent to the Class of 1952 Stadium.
Bedford will feature artificial turf, which is optimal for field hockey. It will also have a built-in watering system.
"Enthusiastic supporters of both sports backed this plan and helped raise the funds to make it a reality," said Jon Hess '98, president of the Princeton Athletics Friends Group for lacrosse. "I am proud that our alumni and friends want Princeton lacrosse and field hockey to continue to compete at the highest level, and these facilities will help our student-athletes do that."
Bedford Field, which currently has no bleachers, will see construction of 1,500 seats. The top of the grandstand will back up to the Class of 1952 Stadium, and the press box will be expanded to face both sides of the facility.
Also included in the project are new team rooms, concession areas, storage areas, and rest rooms.
"This new plan will ensure that all three teams have a space on campus that our student-athletes will be proud to call home. Having just celebrated 40 years of Princeton field hockey this season, we look forward to our next 40 years playing on Bedford Field," added Sue Perles '75, president of the Friends of Princeton Field Hockey and a former University trustee.
The $5 million project will be completed by August 2013. Temporary seating will be in place for the 2012 field hockey season.
The installation of the FieldTurf on Sherrerd Field is already completed, and the first lacrosse game on the new surface will be Saturday, Feb. 25, when the men's team hosts Hofstra at 1 p.m.
The formal dedication of Sherrerd Field will be held on Saturday, March 17, when the men open the Ivy League season against Penn at 2, followed by the women's game against Virginia at 5. The men's game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Since the opening of the Class of 1952 Stadium for the 1996 field hockey season, the three teams who have called the facility home have combined for 34 Ivy League championships, 14 NCAA Final Four appearances and five NCAA championships.