Gerry Lenfest '53, '55L: 2014 USRowing Man of the Year.
He’s not known as a rowing enthusiast, but H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1953 and from its Law School in 1955, felt strongly enough about Temple University’s plan to drop its crew program that he donated $3 million to help save it.
For his efforts, USRowing named him Man of the Year, and Gerry was honored at the 2014 USRowing Annual Awards Reception, in Jacksonville, Fla.
A story on the USRowing website features an interview with Gerry, a Temple University trustee and Philadelphia philanthropist. He said, “It just occurred to me that Temple is the university of Philadelphia, and with the tradition of rowing in Philadelphia, not to have Temple represented in the rowing community seemed a great travesty to me. And so I didn’t have to have a background in rowing to know that much, and to make sure that they not only got back, but they had their own rowing club facility.”
Gerry’s endowment, along with $2.5 million from the city helped restore the East Park Canoe House on the Schuylkill River, which formerly housed Philadelphia Police Department’s marine unit.
“If I lived my life over again, I would definitely have a scull, because I think it’s one of the greatest sports there is,” Gerry said. “It keeps you in great physical condition, and you’re in beautiful surroundings rowing on the Schuylkill River.”