The dedication of a renovated Alumni Field will highlight a busy Homecoming Weekend at WPI. This ceremony will take place at halftime of the football team’s 1 p.m. game versus Hobart on Saturday, Sept 29. The track will be named after legendary coach Merl Norcross, who was the head track and field coach for 42 seasons while serving the WPI Athletic Department a total of 53 years.
WORCESTER, Mass. -- The dedication of a renovated Alumni Field complex will highlight a busy Homecoming Weekend at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). This ceremony will take place at halftime of the football team’s 1 p.m. contest versus Hobart on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The renovation was made possible due to the generosity of several WPI alumni and their spouses, including Janet and George Abdow '53, Mary Anne and James Carr '74, Barbara and Peter Horstmann '55, Nancy and Barrie Peterson '67, Ruth and Don Taylor '49 and Sandra and David Van Covern '53.
"We are thrilled with these splendid renovations to Alumni Field," said WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "The entire WPI community can enjoy the benefits of this outstanding outdoor recreation facility, and our student-athletes can now practice and compete in facilities that will help them reach their highest potential. The new Alumni Field also offers a comfortable venue for our fans, and a welcoming site to our neighbors and those visiting the WPI campus. I am deeply grateful for the support we have received from our alumni for this project—they are true champions of WPI."
The renovation project included the installation of the same turf field now in use at Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots), new bleachers and press box on the west side of the field, a scoreboard, and a field lighting system. The existing eight-lane track was resurfaced. This state-of-the-art outdoor sports facility is the home of intercollegiate field hockey, football, soccer, and track and field, and will provide an improved facility for club sports, intramural programs, and recreational use by the WPI community. The upgraded stadium will allow WPI to host championships at the local, regional, and national levels.
Additionally, the dedication ceremony will include the naming of the track after legendary coach Merl Norcross. Norcross, native of Kingston, Pa., and a longtime resident of Holden, Mass., was the head track and field coach for 42 seasons while serving the WPI Athletic Department a total of 53 years. Norcross coached seven All-Americans during his tenure and guided a pair of undefeated seasons. The Engineers posted a winning record in each of his final 26 years as head coach while amassing a .700 winning percentage during his entire standout career.
"Merl Norcross has been an icon in the sport of track, working to develop young men and women to reach their potential in all they do," said Dana L. Harmon, WPI's director of physical education, recreation and athletics. "Our entire WPI community, especially the alumni who hold Merl near and dear to their heart, are thrilled that this honor is being bestowed on him. He is a true gentleman and so deserving of this honor."
Homecoming Weekend will be a busy one at WPI. The 25th annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will take place on Friday night while the field hockey team will host Babson on Saturday at 10 a.m.