HARTFORD, Conn. – On Saturday, October 16, members of the Trinity College community celebrated the official dedication of the newly completed Paul D. Assaiante Tennis Center. Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr., presided over the ceremony, calling it “a wonderful moment for Trinity, our student-athletes, our campus community, and the children and families of Hartford.”
|L-R: Trinity Trustee Sophie Bell Ayres '77, P'12, '12, chair of the Tennis Center planning committee; Paul Assaiante P'06; President James F. Jones, Jr.; and Paul E. Raether '68, P'93, '96, '01, chairman of the Trinity Board of Trustees.
||A young member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford demonstrates his skills to a member of the Trinity College women's tennis team during a Learn to Play Tennis session at the new Paul D. Assaiante Tennis Center. (Photos by Nick Lacy)|
Among more than 150 attending the celebration were donors to the tennis center project, former and current Trinity athletes, children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, Trinity governing board members, and students and staff from the College. Program participants read aloud congratulatory notes from tennis legends Billie Jean King, a past recipient of an honorary degree from Trinity, and Stan Smith. Paul Assaiante, associate professor of physical education and head coach, men’s tennis and men’s squash, for whom the new tennis facility is named, was honored for his dedication as a coach, teacher, and friend to generations of Trinity tennis and squash players. Assaiante, accompanied by the Trinity Bantam mascot, made a textbook inaugural serve, to applause and cheers from the crowd.
The Paul D. Assaiante Tennis Center at Trinity College brings outstanding, tournament-class tennis facilities to Trinity—facilities to match the high quality of the competitive men’s and women’s tennis programs. The lighted center enhances the overall beauty of the campus and expands recreational opportunities for both the campus community and Trinity’s neighbors in Hartford. The center’s design, developed with input from the United States Tennis Association, features eight new tennis courts, a spectator plaza, and lighting, allowing for both competitive play and tennis programming in the evening.
Contributions of more than $1 million—to both construct the facility and establish an endowment for maintenance and programming—included leadership support from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the United States Tennis Association, and several Trinity alumni and parents. The project is a key component of Trinity’s athletic fundraising campaign, which aims to raise a minimum of $10 million in endowed funds, as well as additional funds to improve athletic facilities.
The opening of the tennis facility provides additional community service opportunities for Trinity students, who consistently describe their work with neighborhood children and families as an important, life-changing aspect of their Trinity experience. In advance of the ceremony, a Learn-to-Play-Tennis session took place with Trinity’s men’s and women’s tennis teams and children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. Additional College-community tennis programming is planned with children who attend the Learning Corridor Schools, Trinity’s Dream Camp, and Trinity’s mentoring programs for local youth.