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PSS Winter '09 - Bruce Springsteen Photo

Advancing Athletes

Granstand

Eddie ’55 and Joanne Froelich make financial commitment to HWS athletics

by Caitlyn Pryde Mills

When Eddie Froelich ’55 entered Hobart College in the fall of 1951, he knew he wanted to be involved with the athletics program.

“I had always been interested in sports,” Froelich recalls. “But I lacked the athletic ability to be competitive in all but intramural events, and even there, I was far from stellar.”

It didn’t take long for Froelich to find his niche at the Colleges. In the spring of his first year, at the urging of Mike Printz ’53, Froelich became an assistant manager of the Hobart lacrosse team.

“It seemed to be the perfect means of satisfying an interest in sports while becoming friendly with the athletes,” he says.

Eddie ’55 and Joanne Froelich

Froelich fondly recalls his managerial duties but insists that they were anything but strenuous and often consisted of quartering crates of oranges an hour before game time and taking attendance on buses for away games, even if it meant enduring the occasional mimicry from upper classmen because of his slight lisp.

“I was too much in awe to be annoyed,” he recalls.

As a sophomore, he joined his fraternity brother Bill Beall ’54 as assistant manager of the football team. His term as team manager culminated in Hobart’s first undefeated football season in 1954, Froelich’s senior year.

As team manager, Froelich had the privilege of working under the supervision of head trainer Joe Abraham, who served the Colleges from 1945 – 1981.

“In my opinion he was a pioneer in the field of sports medicine,” says Froelich. “In an era when many coaches would often tell injured players to merely ‘walk it off,’ Joe was wise, capable and a master at taping ankles. Because he was such a wonderful human being, he was tremendously influential in shaping our character.”

After graduating in 1955, Froelich took a job as a quote clerk at Pershing & Co., a brokerage firm responsible, at the time, for almost 10 percent of the trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange. He spent 46 years at Pershing & Co., eventually becoming a senior supervisory analyst, before retiring in August 2001.

In keeping with his great regard for Abraham and with guidance from Hobart Athletics Director Mike Hanna ’68, P’99, HON ’04 Froelich and his wife, Joanne, established the Joe Abraham Prize, awarded to an HWS student in recognition of outstanding service to athletics.

“My commitment to HWS came from a realization that a college education and the opportunity to interact with others in that community are important to one’s development as a person,” Froelich explains.

“Their generosity has allowed us to add a full-time trainer to our staff, something we very much needed,” says Hanna. “Eddie and Joanne have been a huge help to our sports medicine program.”

“Because of the Froelichs, we are able to provide our students with the personnel and the resources to not only treat injuries, but to prevent them,” says William Smith Athletics Director Deb Steward.

The Froelichs also recently committed to providing the funds that will enable the Colleges to renovate and endow the Abraham Sports Medicine Room and support the renovation and endowment of the Visiting Team Locker Room. In recognition of the Froelichs’ longstanding commitment to scholarship support and athletics, the Colleges are naming the new gatehouse at Boswell Field in their honor. In addition to funding these major projects, the Froelichs have established endowed maintenance funds for the sports medicine room and gatehouse.

“The Froelichs are a case study in great donors,” says Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement K.C. Cassell ’82, P’07, P’10, P’12. “They maintain a remarkable range of support and commitment and they understand the need to fix the old and aspire to the new.”

The Froelichs credit Cassell for helping them set up a scholarship fund for HWS scholar athletes. During spring visits to campus, they’ve had the opportunity to meet their new scholarship recipient and to attend the Block H and Heron awards dinners.

“I love the beautiful campus and meeting so many bright and friendly students,” Joanne says. “Getting to know our ‘Froelich scholars’ has been especially fulfilling.”

A beneficiary of the Froelichs’ generosity, Tara Ware ’08, is grateful for the scholarship she received. “The Froelichs are two of the most generous and warm people that I know,” Ware says. “I truly think HWS is blessed to have contributors like them.”

“They’ve really made a difference in how we’re able to care for the athletes at both Colleges,” Hanna says. “The Froelichs are terrific teammates for our coaches and our kids, that’s for sure.”