Following the death of men’s lacrosse co-captain George Boiardi ’04 during a game against Binghamton on March 17, Cornell’s campus, Boiardi’s friends and family, and people affiliated with lacrosse around the country reeled at the tragic and sudden loss. Now, in an effort to memorialize Boiardi and honor his contribution to the sport and love of the game, the Boiardi family has initiated the George Boiardi Memorial Fund, which the family hopes will raise enough money to endow the George Boiardi Assistant Coach of Lacrosse at Cornell.
“One of the things that family had mentioned was that they would love to have friends and family contribute to a fund for Cornell lacrosse in lieu of flowers for the calling hours and the service,” said J. Andrew Noel, director of athletics and physical education. “The thought from Mr. Boiardi was that George had a particular affection and appreciation for the coaching staff at Cornell and, given that the head coaching position had already been named for Richie Moran, he thought it would be a terrific way to remember and honor George to have an assistant coach position named in George’s honor and memory. It was something that would be beneficial to the lacrosse program and an appropriate way to remember George.”
Once news of Boiardi’s death spread, support for the fund immediately poured in from Cornell alumni, current Cornell students, other lacrosse programs, and people unaffiliated with the University or lacrosse, but who were touched nonetheless.
“The family has been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and concern from the Cornell community from the President on down. We’ve raised nearly $375,000 so far. There has been an overwhelming response. We could hardly keep up with the volume of gifts that are coming in, and they’re still coming,” said Laurie Robinson ’77, director of development. “We’ve gotten gifts from all over the country. Even a lot of the teams that we compete against — Brown, Yale, and Syracuse — have donated.
“We’ve also gotten a lot of gifts from people who have said, ‘I never had anything to do with Cornell or Cornell lacrosse, but I heard about this, and I’m so moved by it that I want to do something,'” Robinson said. “There just isn’t anybody who was not touched by this tragedy.”
Initially, a goal of $500,000 was set, and the Boiardi family made a significant gift to start the campaign. Once that threshold is met, Henry ’48 and Nancy ’48 Bartels have pledged to match that amount as part of their athletics endowment. The $1,000,000 dollar fund will then bear Boiardi’s name and become the first endowment for an assistant lacrosse coaching position in the country.
“The first moment when I heard Mr. Boiardi even speak about the possibility of endowing the program, it brought up a lot of emotion to have George Boiardi’s name tied with the coaching position,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Every time you hire a new coach, it sets a standard of who he is going to be. I just think that everyone who takes the position is going to take a little bit of George’s leadership and pass it along to future Cornellians.”
Those interested in contributing to the fund may send donations to:
Laurie Robinson, Director of Development Cornell University, 55 Brown Road Ithaca, NY 14850
Archived article by Everett Hullverson
Sun Assistant Sports Editor