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P r e s i d e n t ’ s C o u n C i l

to Honor Legacy of Coach Leslie Judd By Claire Burns

“For yEArs, I’ve felt it important that more be done to perpetuate the legacy of Leslie Judd,” says Erik kjeldsen ‘54, G’62. “So, after a lot of thinking about ways that the College could do that, I decided to put my wallet where my heart was and make it happen.” kjeldsen recently estab- lished the Erik k. M. kjeldsen Endowed Fund, which will support the Coach Leslie J. Judd Memorial Award. Beginning this year, the annual award will provide a stipend to a graduate student to serve as a men’s gymnastics coaching assistant at Springfield College. “It is my hope that these ongoing awards will be public reminders of Coach Judd’s influence on the sport of gymnastics, and also of his high standards and values, which inspired so many people,” kjeldsen says. kjeldsen knew Judd as his coach

a student, most of us were planning a life in physical education. There was camaraderie in that common commitment, and it was enormously gratifying. In fact, it was powerful. Today, students are pursuing a tremendous variety of academic programs, athletics, interests, and career goals, but the commitment and core values are the same,” he says. kjeldsen has remained closely

Erik K. M. Kjeldsen

and teacher and, later, as a colleague and friend. “He was a gentle man, a thoughtful person, considerate of others, and one who strived for excellence in all that he did. His was a life worthy of emulation,” kjeldsen says. For both Judd and kjeldsen, gymnastics, coaching, and

teaching were lifelong passions. kjeldsen was a member of the Springfield College Gymnastics Exhibition Team from 1950 to 1954 under Judd, and he excelled in tumbling, trampoline, and vaulting. He went on to teach physical education and to coach gymnastics at Wellesley High School, Massachusetts, from 1957 to 1962, and to coach gymnastics at the University of Massachusetts from 1962 to 1972. He retired from UMass as professor of sport management in 1994 after 32 years on the faculty. He judged hundreds of high school, college, and other competitions between 1958 and 1995, and was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. kjeldsen believes that Judd’s legacy of excellence and

humanitarianism is as pertinent today as it has ever been. Across the generations, Springfield College students have been committed to a balance among spirit, mind, and body and service to others in their careers and personal lives. “When I was

involved with the College. His teaching and coaching career brought him into regular contact with its alumni and former gymnasts. That resulted in many personal friendships and profes- sional relationships, which he considers to be among the greatest benefits of his Springfield College experience. Over the years, he has contributed his time as a member of

the Alumni Council, has been a generous supporter of the Alumni Fund, and has committed to a planned gift as a member of the 1885 Society. Recently, kjeldsen greatly enjoyed the Springfield College

Gymnastics Reunion. Afterward, he wrote to others who attended, encouraging them to support the College in the manner of their choice, and consider helping to increase the kjeldsen Fund to support a second gymnastics assistant coach position, this one for the women’s team. For him, establishing the kjeldsen Fund has been enormously

gratifying. It has combined several of the loves of his life in a form of support that will help others to benefit from them in

perpetuity – gymnastics, coaching, teaching, Springfield College, and the memory of Leslie J. Judd, who was an icon in all of them. His advice to others: find your passion and support it. If you would like more information about the Erik k. M.

kjeldsen Endowed Fund, or about giving to Springfield College, contact Scott Berg, associate vice president for development, (413) 748-3859,

Erik Kjeldsen Endows Fund

office of Development, 263 Alden Street, Springfield, Mass. 01109 (413) 748-3124 or (800) 622-6072 14

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