STORRS, Conn. (Dec. 4, 2008) --- The University of Connecticut women’s rowing team honored Professor Sam Witryol on Monday night by naming their new Pocock racing shell after him.
The shell, now named "Witryol's Wake, Professor Sam" will be rowed by the varsity eight this spring. Dr. Witryol christened the new boat at halftime of the men's basketball game vs. Delaware State, in front of the rowing team and a crowd of 9,734 people.
"Sam has been a supporter and friend to UConn rowing for many years,” says head coach Jennifer Sanford-Wendry. “It is a nice connection to be able to name a boat after a UConn professor to show the important tie between academics and athletics. The ceremony itself during halftime of a basketball game gave our program and student-athletes some nice recognition, as most people couldn't help but stop and watch as the 60-foot shell was brought out to the court by the team."
Witryol has been a fixture on the UConn campus since he first arrived in Storrs in 1949. He was born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. and earned his undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from Syracuse University.
Witryol first came to UConn to teach psychology in the graduate program and became an undergraduate professor in 1959. Witryol started the child psychology program at UConn, which has developed into on of the country’s finest in that discipline. He is considered an expert in the development of curiosity in children.
He retired as a full-time professor in 1992. Witryol still teaches once course each semester and is in his 60th consecutive year of teaching at UConn.
He began a keen interest in women’s athletics from their inception and has developed a great camaraderie with the women’s coaches and their student-athletes.