View Full Version : Union College: Some History

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03-26-2012, 08:09 AM
Union is not allowed to give athletic scholarships. This is an NCAA policy due to the restructuring back a couple years ago. Union was not part of that policy, might not have had D1 hockey at the time. St Lawrence, RPI, Clarkson are exempt, and can give athletic scholarships. In recent years, there has been a change to the financial aid policy in which athletes can get preferential financial aid.

With that said, if you think the hockey players are paying for Union you are grossly mistaken. I remember being in classes with the goalie, captain and a couple guys who were 4th liners, none of them paid for school.

03-26-2012, 08:42 AM
Unfortunately it is not true that they receive preferential treatment in the financial aid process at Union. They fill out the same forms as everyone else and are evaluated on the same criteria. Some hockey players receive financial aid packages that are quite generous and others pay their own way depending on family circumstances.

03-26-2012, 10:41 PM
As a Merrimack grad, class of '78, I remember the late '70's situation at Union. It was great to read the SI article again. Perhaps my favorite game ever was MC defeating Union at the then Volpe Center in the '76-'77 ECAC DII finals. That Union team was loaded, with Steve Baker in net and boy could they skate. We always thought Harkness was playing fast and loose with the rules, and it all came crashing down the next year.

03-26-2012, 10:42 PM
This has been very interesting...thank you.

03-27-2012, 01:13 PM
This has been very interesting...thank you.

Well then, here's a little (actually a lot) more :)

I have a little time today so I might as well tell the story of former Union President Roger Hull and why he said in around 2004 that “winning 40% is ok”.

Its been alluded to several times in this thread. I was going to leave it alone, since its not too complimentary to Hull and I like Union, a lot, but the more I think about it, it is instructive in several ways, including how some college Presidents think, how the NCAA works, and most importantly how small college Union hockey has made its way from D3 to Tampa. In any event Hull’s thinking no longer prevails in Schenectady. As always corrections and additions are welcome.

If you have read this thread up to here, you know that Union dropped hockey after World War II. This is somewhat strange since Albany has always been a hockey hot bed, RPI is located one town over, and Union’s historical arch rival, Hamilton College, had (and has) a very strong hockey tradition. But, anyway, they did. (As a minor side note, when I was a student at Williams College in the early ‘Seventies, we (a handful of former high school players) formed a club team and played other New England college club teams, including Union’s. If memory serves, there was no rink at Union at all at that time and we played them in Saratoga Springs. Perhaps there is a former Union club player from those days who remembers.)

Prior posts in this thread also recount the decision to reinstitute varsity hockey, and the decision to join the NESCAC, hire Ned Harkness, leave NESCAC, and fire Ned Harkness. In hindsight, being part of NESCAC and hiring Ned Harkness to lead your hockey program to national prominence were grossly inconsistent decisions and they were never going to live together. The interesting thing is that Union is in every way (except hockey) the prototypical D3 school. It has a small enrollment of about 2200, it doesn’t give athletic scholarships (and never has…it gives “need-based” aid), and it has always purported to emphasize academics over athletics in everything it does. So hiring Ned Harkness to lead the hockey program was probably never going to work and, in fact, within a few years both Harkness and the president who hired him were gone and Union hockey, in the late 1970’s, returned to D3. (See post #1 in this thread.)

Except not as a member of NESCAC. I have often wondered whether Union regrets this decision. With the advent of the US News and World Report rankings the NESCAC has emerged as an identifiable group of highly rated and visible small liberal arts colleges in the Northeast (with Amherst and Williams perennially at the top of the rankings) and virtually every NESCAC school is now ranked ahead of Union. This has to hurt since in all likelihood they would have been in the middle of the pack had they stayed in the conference. Maybe yes, maybe no…just speculating…

In any event, in 1990 a former corporate lawyer turned college administrator named Roger Hull became Union’s 17th President. He was a Dartmouth and Yale Law grad and had been president of Beloit College in Wisconsin. He inherited Union’s D3 hockey program.

No sooner did he take up the reins than the opportunity to move up to D1 re-presented itself. In January 1991, the New York Times momentously reported,

“Union College of Schenectady, N.Y., will join the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Division I hockey league next season as a replacement for Army. In a realignment of the league's 12 teams, the Dutchmen will be linked with nearby Rensselaer as a partner on the road and at home.

On Monday, Union's president, Dr. Roger H. Hull, accepted the invitation extended by ECAC Hockey after a month's deliberation. The opening came when Army, which has had little success since commencing a full 22-game schedule in 1986, decided to play as a Division I independent beginning next season.”

So the die was cast and Union formally went D1 in hockey, but remained in every other respect a D3 school.

Ken Schott reported in the Schenectady Daily Gazette,

“…But there were hurdles to climb. For starters, Hull didn’t want the hockey players to be treated any differently than the rest of the students and the other sports programs, which competed at the Division III level. That meant no athletic scholarships, which Union could have done by petitioning the NCAA to allow it, or no preferential aid packages. "It was just difficult,’ said [then coach Bruce] Delventhal, now the athletic director of Plattsburgh State University. ‘We were going to have to be different from the standpoint that there were different expectations. The way I see it, it’s the difference between an honors class in chemistry and a regular class in chemistry. There are different expectations of that honors class.’… “

The inherent tensions between D1 major college hockey and Hull’s lofty liberal arts college aspirations would prove problematic. Although the team had intermittent modest success, it mostly floundered in the basement of the ECAC and many people wondered if and when Union would pull the plug and return to D3. Delventhal was replaced by Stan Moore as coach and in 1996 Union reached the playoffs. Moore was named ECAC Coach of the Year. Emboldened, Moore asked for more support from Hull and was flatly rejected. Like Harkness in the 1970’s and Delventhal before him, he upped and left.

Assistant coach Kevin Sneddon was elevated to varsity coach of the beleaguered program. Sneddon’s coaching career didn’t start well. The team went 3-26-3 in 1998, including 1-19-2 in ECAC play, probably the low point of the program.

In the summer of 2000, Val Belmonte, a former college hockey coach at Illinois-Chicago and director of coaching at USA Hockey, became Union’s athletic director and recruiting improved and wins began to follow.

Then, as things seem to have often done at Union, things got worse. And Roger Hull was in the middle of it.

I will continue with the Roger Hull story in the next post.

03-27-2012, 01:18 PM
I will continue with the Roger Hull story in the next post.

Here is the second part of the story I started in post #45.

Let me step back in time for a moment. When time began there was no NCAA and there were no rules for or against athletic scholarships in college athletics…I’m going back to the 19th century here. The forerunner of the NCAA was formed in the very early 20th century to deal with safety and eligibility rules in football, where too many players were jumping around between schools, taking money to play while not enrolled, and most unfortunately, dying on the field. Fast forward about one hundred years and the NCAA was still trying to establish rules over the same issues (well, maybe not so much about dying, although with the current concussion controversy, we’ll see).

In 1973, the current three-division setup of Division I, Division II, and Division III was adopted by the NCAA membership. As every reader of this board knows, in general, larger schools compete in Division I and smaller schools in II and III. (Division I football was further divided into I-A and I-AA in 1978. In 2006, Divisions I-A and I-AA were respectively renamed the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)). We also know that hockey is an unusual sport from an NCAA perspective because many D1 hockey teams are D2 or 3 in the rest of their programs, creating a dilemma for NCAA rules makers who want everything nice and tidy among the classifications.

Under NCAA rules, Division I and Division II schools can offer scholarships to athletes for playing a sport. Division III schools may not offer any athletic scholarships. Under a rules “exemption” granted in around 1983, Division III schools can “play up” in a sport in Division I without joining Division I and can offer athletic scholarships in that sport without violating the D3 “no athletic scholarships” rule. The fact that some D3 schools play up and grant athletic scholarships and some play up and don’t, and that the large majority of D3 schools don’t play up, yet compete against a handful of schools who do play up in one or two marquee sports has always rankled some in the NCAA (who, I guess, like me, have too much time on their hands and can worry about such things…)

In any event, the divisional classifications and the rules pertaining to them were regularly debated in NCAA conventions following the implementation of classification and the play up exemption (in 1987, 1991 and 1994).

In 2000, the former president of Princeton, William Bowen, co-wrote a book called “The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values”. The authors took the position that elite athletic programs were in many ways antithetical to the purposes of elite academic institutions, such as Princeton. They produced extensive data from highly selective colleges showing that (i) recruited athletes are as much as four times more likely to gain admission than are other applicants with similar academic credentials, (ii) once in college, they consistently underperform academically, (iii) the typical recruit is substantially more likely to end up in the bottom third of the college class than is either the typical walk-on or the student who does not play college sports, and (iii) even then, recruited athletes "underperform," doing even less well academically than predicted by their test scores and high school grades. Moreover, they said, the academic standing of athletes relative to their classmates has deteriorated markedly from the good ol’ days.

The book had a huge impact on a number of elite D3 college presidents who were running highly selective admissions programs (and, often, powerhouse athletic programs). A D3 committee was formed, called the President’s Council, to study the issue. (Interestingly, the committee was chaired by President John McCardell of Middlebury, who, at the time in 2003, was running a college with one of the most selective admissions policies in the country and which in the period 1995-2003 had won 18 NCAA team titles. The school had also recently built a $17.5 million, 2,100-seat hockey rink, a new track and field complex, a swimming facility and a new football field.)

The Council found itself troubled by what they saw as a departure from the core philosophy of Division III by eight schools playing up and offering scholarships in a handful of sports, including men’s ice hockey.

The eight schools were:

• Clarkson University - men's and women's ice hockey
• Colorado College - men's ice hockey, women's soccer
• Hartwick College - men's soccer, women's water polo
• Johns Hopkins University - men's and women's lacrosse
• Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - men's ice hockey (women's ice hockey moved up to Division I in 2005)
• Rutgers University-Newark - men's volleyball
• St. Lawrence University - men's and women's ice hockey
• SUNY Oneonta - men's soccer (since dropped down to Division III in 2006)

As you can see, four of the programs were the historically grandfathered D1 hockey programs at D3 Clarkson, Colorado College, RPI and St. Lawrence.

The Council surveyed the entire D3 membership (almost none of whom played up in any sport) and, in addition to other reform proposals, concluded that going forward no D3 school playing up should be permitted to offer athletic scholarships. It was a kind of an integrity uber alles position that only affected the eight D3 schools playing up. The result was the so-called Proposal 65 which the Council approved and brought before an NCAA Convention in January 2004.

A firestorm of controversy ensued and this is where Roger Hull and Union had their moment of glory and ignominy.

See the next post (#47) for the end of the story...

03-27-2012, 01:21 PM
Here is the second part of the story I started in post #45.

See the next post (#47) for the end of the story...

(Continued from posts ##45 and 46)

Proponents of the proposed NCAA rule-making argued, among other things, that granting scholarships was not part of the principles of Division III, and that no (zero) exceptions should be made. They argued that having Division I programs unfairly benefitted the regular D3 programs at those schools.

The eight schools affected immediately called those claims dubious at best. They noted that, for example, Division I athletes at these schools cannot play other sports, and money earned from Division I NCAA tournaments cannot be accepted by these schools. They also urged the Division III membership to consider that these schools all had model programs with rigorous academic requirements.

“St. Lawrence and the other seven colleges … affected by the waiver revocation do live up to the Division III ideals of broad-based participation,” said St. Lawrence president Dan Sullivan, “and a student development-focused philosophy, and will continue to support Division III principles even with Division I sports among our offerings.” Rensselaer noted that 20 of its then current 27 hockey players had made the Dean’s list in the last semester.

The eight schools banded together and went on a major lobbying campaign. A public relations firm was hired and athletic directors and presidents from the schools coordinated efforts, placing personal phone calls to colleagues at all of the other 416 Division III schools.

A compromise was offered by the eight affected schools which would grandfather them in their D1 scholarship programs. This is when Union’s Roger Hull entered the fray. Who knows why he did. He had no dog in the fight. Union was not grandfathered and their decision to play up was made in full knowledge that no non-grandfathered program could offer athletic scholarships and, in any event, as a matter of its own philosophy, Union didn’t want to offer athletic scholarships. Maybe he just wanted to pull his three hockey-playing brethren from New York State down with him.

It happens that Union is part of the UCAA, the all-sport conference that St. Lawrence, Clarkson and RPI also participate in, in all sports other than hockey. As we know, all three of those schools also participate with Union in the D1 men's hockey ECAC league. Hull decided to oppose the grandfather rule and in so doing he stood alone in the UCAA. He publicly voted against the compromise.

At the time, Hull said that he was standing on conscience. He had told his fellow UCAA presidents that he would abstain from voting — unless one of them argued that scholarships were necessary to remain competitive. When one of them did make that argument, Hull voted no. He did so, he said, because he didn’t believe that athletic scholarships were necessary to remain competitive.

He then said, "Let me tell you of my idea of being competitive: fielding a team that has a reasonable chance of winning every time it steps on the ice," Hull said. "And when they got to 40 percent [winning percentage], I was proud, and when they reached nearly 50 percent a few years ago, I was tremendously proud of them."

Thus, the famous or infamous 40% quote. Hull found himself on the losing side of the ensuing vote by a wide margin. The compromise proposal passed and RPI, Clarkson and St Lawrence’s scholarship programs were saved. It is unclear from the record whether the presidents of RPI, Clarkson and St Lawrence ever spoke to Hull again.

While Hull probably deserves credit for bringing D1 hockey to Union, his stand in 2004 showed clearly how divided Union was then over how to run the program. Fortunately two things then happened which cleared the way for Union’s recent success. By 2003, just before the play up controversy erupted, Union had gone .500 and made the playoffs, but Sneddon was lured away by Vermont and Harvard assistant coach Nate Leaman was hired to be Union’s new head coach.

Leaman had seen how to build a winning program. He had been a graduate assistant at Maine when they won the 1999 NCAA title. He also knew how to recruit without athletic scholarships. He had helped recruit players that enabled Harvard to win the 2002 ECAC tournament title and reach the final the following year. “You do have to have a pretty good understanding for how to recruit financial aid-based players,” Leaman said. “Working at Harvard gave me four years of experience with that.”

Slowly, Leaman continued to build on what Sneddon had started. And the program began to get more and more institutional support. In 2005, Hull left (echoes of Thomas Bonner in 1978?) and Stephen Ainlay became President. Importantly, Ainlay came to Union from Holy Cross, a Division I institution. “President Ainlay understands Division I athletics,” Leaman was quoted as saying. “He understands that student-athletes can play a Division I sport and do excellent in the classroom, as well. He understands the positive exposure the school can get from having a Division I sport.”

Finally, by 2006, after restarting the hockey program in 1973 and then beginning D1 men's hockey play in 1991, the administration, the athletics department and the hockey program were all on the same page, and…the rest is history.

Except for what unfolds in Tampa next week.

(Thanks to Ken Schott for his 2010 article in the Schenectady Daily Gazette which tells big pieces of this story very well. I have liberally borrowed from it. You can read the whole article here: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2010/oct/08/1008_unionhockey/. For a longer version of the NCAA play up debate click here: http://www.uscho.com/2004/01/12/scholarships-will-continue-for-diii-play-up-schools/#ixzz1qKgpVO8Z).

03-28-2012, 06:23 PM
Its been alluded to several times in this thread. I was going to leave it alone, since its not too complimentary to Hull and I like Union, a lot, but the more I think about it, it is instructive in several ways, including how some college Presidents think, how the NCAA works, and most importantly how small college Union hockey has made its way from D3 to Tampa. In any event Hull’s thinking no longer prevails in Schenectady. As always corrections and additions are welcome.

Not sure about other Union fan's , but don't worry about protecting Hull's reputation. He was a complete tool while at Union. I probably hate him a bit more than others as only a month into my freshman year he tried to kick me out of Union for having the audacity to suffer from a DVT. And despite being 18, he never had the balls to approach me about it, and tried to backdoor me by going through my parents. He would spend the next 4 years destroying what I loved most about the school.

Also a fairly significant event (and one if rumor is true affected Hull's thinking toward the hockey program) was his failed bid to build a new rink to be shared with the City of Schenectady off campus in 1996. The student body including both men's and women's hockey teams severely opposed the idea.

03-28-2012, 08:49 PM
Union had a new president named Thomas Bonner,

FWIW, Bonner left UNH to take the Union job

03-28-2012, 08:58 PM
Hull was an arrogant dolt, the school will only continue to improve without him. I'm sure if you asked Roger he would take credit for the rise of the hockey program. Union's current President Steven Ainlay is the complete opposite of Hull and an asset to the school.

03-29-2012, 04:01 PM
Not sure about other Union fan's , but don't worry about protecting Hull's reputation. He was a complete tool while at Union. I probably hate him a bit more than others as only a month into my freshman year he tried to kick me out of Union for having the audacity to suffer from a DVT. And despite being 18, he never had the balls to approach me about it, and tried to backdoor me by going through my parents. He would spend the next 4 years destroying what I loved most about the school.

My freshman year was when they announced Y2K and the students had the giant rally in front of the president's house. I got one year of old school Greek life and by the end of my senior year Psi U, Chi Psi, and Sig Phi were all out of their houses. My class was the first do to sophomore rush and I believe we had the last graduating class of Civil Engineers. Hull was DETESTED by the student body and I still have my Huck Full shirt. It is a classic Union keepsake :)

On a separate note, thanks to Eph72 for the walk down Union history lane. One of my favorite Union facts is that we can boast as alums the following: a U.S. President, a Nobel Prize winner, a Secretary of State, an Olympic Gold Medalist, An Oscar winner, and an Emmy winner. Not a bad list!

03-29-2012, 04:18 PM
At least the "troilet" has actual spotlights instead of giant strap-on hip-gyration-operated spotlights like Messsofa Rink, and actually does the Canadian National Anthem before games ;)

All in good fun of course :)

Colgate, Union and perhaps Harvard should replace their arenas. The others in the ECAC are good facilities. Princeton freshened up Hobey Baker Rink a few years ago. There is not much more you could do there. It is an historic facility and it will fall down before they replace it. Q'Pac has a 3-year old building. Brown and Dartmouth have great buildings with good sightlines for fans and media. Yale made some major improvements in the past two years. Cornell's Lynah Rink is another great old building that will not be replaced as long as it is safe to hold events there. Clarkson's building is modern and provides a good expereince and Appleton Arena was also updated just a few years ago and is a nice little facility. Houston Field House needs new seats and the east end should be enclosed to create a complete bowl, but it has undergone some significant upgrades in the past few years and about 4,450 of its roughly 4,500 seats provide good views of the ice.

03-29-2012, 04:34 PM
(Continued from posts ##45 and 46)

At the time, Hull said that he was standing on conscience. He had told his fellow UCAA presidents that he would abstain from voting — unless one of them argued that scholarships were necessary to remain competitive. When one of them did make that argument, Hull voted no. He did so, he said, because he didn’t believe that athletic scholarships were necessary to remain competitive.

Interestingly, I guess Hull was accidentally correct. You don't need athletic scholarships to remain competitive as evidence by Union's success.

03-29-2012, 04:58 PM
Not been able to verify this, but at one time Leland Stanford was looking to endow a college and to have "naming rights", so to speak. Union supposedly refused and well you know the rest of the Palo Alto story. Can anyone confirm?


I think that story is apocryphal.

According to Stanford University, Leland Stanford, a railroad tycoon and Senator from California, and his wife, Jane, decided to establish a university or other institution in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died in 1884 at age 15 or 16 of typhoid fever. In deciding how to go about realizing this ambition, the Stanfords did visit several colleges in the East, including Harvard, MIT, Yale and Cornell. They met with President Eliot of Harvard who recommended that they establish a university and endow it with $5 million. The Stanfords decided to accept his advice.

There is a dubious version of the story floating around that the Stanfords came to Harvard and offered to put up a building at Harvard in memory of their son. In this version they were a 19th century version of Ma and Pa Clampett and Eliot threw them out. So they decided to put up their own university. Here's a link to the Beverly Hillbillies version: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/stanford.asp.

There may be a different connection between Union and Stanford, however. Both Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, were born and raised in the Albany/Schenctady area. Stanford studied for the bar in Albany and then joined an Albany law firm before moving west. One of his brothers, Charles Stanford, settled in Schenectady where he became one of the city's leading citizens in the mid to late 19th century. His positions included the presidency of the Schenectady Water Company, the Schenectady Knitting Mill Company, the Gas Company, and the McQueen Locomotive Works. He was also one of Schenectady's major real estate owners. Apparently a historian has written of him: "Much of the enterprise in Schenectady owes its existence to him."

While I can't find any formal connection between the Stanford family and Union College, I did turn up the following curious connection. Some years ago an architectural historian at Stanford named Paul Turner, who is a Union alumnus, became interested in the classical design of the Union campus. It turns out that the campus was designed around 1810 by a French architect named Joseph Ramée. In studying Ramée, Turner realized that the central campus of Stanford was, like Union's, a large quadrangle of buildings linked by arcades. While the Stanford campus was designed in the 1880s by Frederick Law Olmsted (creator of New York's Central Park) and the university's founder, Leland Stanford, and the architectural style of the Stanford buildings is very different from Union's, Turner was struck by the similar concepts of arcaded linkage around a formal courtyard.

He writes, "The possibility that Ramée's Union plan influenced the Stanford design seemed remote--until I found that Leland Stanford had been born and raised between Albany and Schenectady, and thus must have been familiar with the Union design. Olmsted also knew Union College. It seems likely that Stanford and Olmsted drew partly on Ramée's design, consciously or unconsciously, in planning the new campus on the other side of the continent". Here is a link to an article by Turner on his discovery: http://www.union.edu/N/DS/s.php?s=2468.

So maybe there is a connection between Union and the founding of Stanford, after all...

03-29-2012, 08:11 PM
I have really enjoyed this thread and particularly appreciate Eph 72's thoughtful and well written posts. Eph, I may have missed this, but why the particular interest in Union history? Anyway, I'm glad you have chosen to share it.

I often have thought about whether Union regrets leaving NESCAC and don't know the answer to that one. I think there may always have been some resentment over the fact that arguably Union's best ever basketball team led by Jim Tedisco in 1972, was unable to compete in the NCAA championships due to a NESCAC prohibition against post season play. I was on campus then and upset by the ban. I think the goal of living up the the "Little Ivy" rep led to that rule and ironically neither the big or little ivy institutions are restricted any longer.

So far as the rink is concerned, A.D. Jim McLaughlin earlier this week foreshadowed that improvements are coming almost any of which would be very welcome.

03-30-2012, 08:51 PM
There is another perhaps interesting to some, though slight, connection between Union and another school with a team in this year’s NCAA tournament.

You’ll remember from an earlier post that the first of what became known as “social” greek letter fraternities, the Kappa Alpha Society, was established at Union in 1825. (Phi Beta Kappa, established at the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1776, was the very first greek, but it is now categorized as an “honor” fraternity and not a social frat).

By 1827 Union students had also founded Sigma Phi and Delta Phi, which with KA became known collectively as the Union Triad. In the following years Union students also founded Psi Upsilon (1833), Chi Psi (1841) and Theta Delta Chi (1847) and became known as the Mother of Fraternities. The fraternities established at Union established chapters at other colleges and this led to the Greek System as we know it today.

I'm stretching, but here's the hockey connection.

The Mother of Fraternities label is also used to refer to Miami (Ohio) University based upon the founding of three fraternities known as the Miami Triad (Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi) between 1839 and 1855, as well as Delta Zeta (1902) and Phi Kappa Tau (1906).

If Miami had scored during their five minute power play in the third period against Umass Lowell in Bridgeport last Friday and beaten the RiverHawks, the two Mothers (Union and Miami) would have met in the regional finals, for the first time ever on the ice, and perhaps for the first time in any sport in the history of the two schools.

03-30-2012, 09:41 PM
Interestingly, I guess Hull was accidentally correct. You don't need athletic scholarships to remain competitive as evidence by Union's success.
Yup, all you need are cross-cultural foreign students loans that don't need to be paid back if the recipient doesn't feel able to do so. Before those, Union was an ECAC cellar dweller. Their success in hockey can be directly correlated to the institution of those loans. My son was a student there and I was working in Schenectady when they were instituted. I remember the announcement and subsequent discussion vividly.

Don't think I would be bragging too much about not giving scholarships if I were Union. The school is too good a place all on its own to stoop to that.

03-31-2012, 08:39 AM
I have really enjoyed this thread and particularly appreciate Eph 72's thoughtful and well written posts.

I concur, however, you have only scratched the surface. You have failed to mentioned that there is one coach who was responsible for bringing the Union College hockey program back from the ashes - and that coach was the late Charlie Morrison. Charlie Morrison was hired in 1978, from Lake Forest. A maritimer from Eastern Canada, Morrison had won two Canadian National Championships in two different sports while at Mount Allison University - soccer and hockey.

When arriving at Union College, you can only imagine the turmoil he faced and the shoes he had to fill. He basically had to recruit a new hockey team while under the close scrutiny of the College administration. I think John Driscoll, the current AD at Providence, was his assistant Coach when he arrived, since John already worked in some capacity at Union College.

At any rate, I just wanted to get this piece in there.

03-31-2012, 08:56 AM
Of course, the ECAC school with the strongest Stanford connection is by far Cornell. 7 of Stanford's original 15 faculty were hired away from Cornell, and they selected a Cornell alum (David Jordan) to be their first president. They copied Cornell's commitment to egalitarian co-education, and even the red-and-white colors. When I was an undergrad, Cornell and Stanford played a football game to commemorate the connection on the occasion of Cornell's 125th anniversary and Stanford's 100th. Needless to say, it did not end well for Cornell! (http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/red-on-red/)

03-31-2012, 04:00 PM
Of course, the ECAC school with the strongest Stanford connection is by far Cornell...

I don’t want to hijack our Union History thread for too long with Cornell and Stanford stories, but LynahFan’s reference to the Cornell and Stanford connection is absolutely correct and it begs to tell another part of the story.

Before I get into the Stanford and Cornell connection, though, I might also digress and say that I think there is a thread that runs from the founding of Harvard in 1636 as the first college in a newly-settled land, to the national preeminence of Union during the presidency of Eliphalet Nott from 1804 to 1866 with its non-denominational underpinnings and its successful incorporation of applied science and engineering into the classical curriculum, to the founding of Cornell University in 1865 as the first avowed “university” in the modern sense in America, to the rise of Stanford University in the 20th Century and the ascendancy of technology and the global preeminence of Silicon Valley today. Perhaps there is more than a common color that runs through the overlapping histories of Crimson to Garnet to Red to Cardinal. But that’s a much longer story than there is time or space here to tell.

It is very true that there was a significant Cornellian influence in the founding of Stanford. Leland Stanford asked Andrew Dickson White, the co-founder of, and recently retired President of, Cornell University, and a recognized giant in American education, to become the first President of Stanford. White demurred, instead recommending his former student, David Starr Jordan, then president of Indiana University, for the position. Stanford offered and Jordan accepted and then, of Jordan’s first twenty appointments to the faculty, ten were associated with Cornell. It can be said that Stanford was, initially, the Cornell of the West. It has in fact been said that the Stanford’s Cardinal red was modeled after the Cornell "Big Red."

Jordan was an interesting and very controversial guy. He initially refused to adopt any formal rules for Stanford students and was an early proponent of the controversial pseudo-science of eugenics as well as an avowed pacifist. Jane Stanford, wife of Leland, was probably equally interesting and controversial. As fate would have it the arcs of their lives eventually collided.

Leland Stanford died in 1893, shortly after his university was chartered. The completion of his founding gift was held up in lawsuits. The university almost failed, but Jane Stanford made its survival her raison d’etre and she kept it going with her checkbook until the litigation was resolved and Stanford’s millions were transferred over to the university in 1896.

Along the way Jane Stanford became deeply and personally involved in Stanford, viewing it as her private benefaction. She would repeatedly butt heads with President Jordan over construction issues, policy issues, personnel issues and budget issues.

As time went on Mrs. Stanford's relationship with Jordan increasingly deteriorated. It was seriously marred in 1900 by the "Ross Affair," involving Edward A. Ross, a sociology professor, who spoke out in favor of the free silver movement, municipal ownership of utilities (including the railroads, obviously a no-no in light of the source of Stanford’s wealth) and Japanese exclusion. Mrs. Stanford found his opinions objectionable and felt the reputation of the University was being damaged. Publicly, she gave Jordan full responsibility for clearing up the matter; privately, she pressed for Ross's dismissal. She wanted Ross to go quietly, as would a gentleman; Jordan realized that Ross had little intention of doing so. He vacillated between pleasing Mrs. Stanford and supporting Ross’s and the faculty’s “academic freedom”. Jordan finally asked Ross to resign. Ross promptly issued his version to the press. He said he had been dismissed arbitrarily by Mrs. Stanford over the opposition of President Jordan. The entire matter proved to be greatly embarrassing to Jordan and Jane Stanford. It appears that their relationship never recovered.

Then, in 1903 Mrs. Stanford proposed to the Board of Trustees the complete reorganization of the academic program and questioned Jordan's original selection of the faculty. In a confidential letter to the trustees in 1904, she suggested specifically which departments and faculty members could be eliminated, implying that Stanford had become an extension campus of Cornell, from whence Jordan had come. Eventually she made it clear to the Trustees that she wanted Jordan removed as president.

It never happened. In 1905, while on a trip to Hawaii, she suddenly died. A coroner’s inquest found that she had died suspiciously of strychnine poisoning. Jordan rushed to Hawaii – purportedly to investigate the death and recover the body. He hired a physician to conduct his own investigation and then announced publicly that Mrs. Stanford had died of a heart attack. The Hawaiian coroner’s report was swept aside and over time forgotten.

Was Cornellian David Jordan responsible for Jane Stanford’s death? You can read a longer version of the whole fascinating story here: ttp://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2003/sepoct/features/jane.html. and decide for yourself...