Alumni Award Winners
|Volunteer Service Award|
Ward Romer grew up in Lakewood, New York, on Chautauqua Lake. He came to Ithaca in 1966 to attend Cornell University and has been on Cayuga Inlet, either rowing or coaching, ever since. Ward was a four-year member of the Big Red lightweight crew. He earned both bachelor's (1970) and master's (1971) degrees in engineering from Cornell.
In 1972, Ward went to work at Tompkins County Hospital, now Cayuga Medical Center, and retired in 2010 from his full-time work as a medical records/information analyst.
In 1973, Ward met with Robert B. Tallman, a prominent Ithaca architect and then the head coach of crew at Ithaca College. The College was constructing the first Ithaca boathouse, and Coach Tallman brought Ward on board as the coach of freshmen crew. Almost 40 years later, Ward is still active in the IC crew program. Until 1979, he was strictly a volunteer. When Bob Tallman retired that year, Ward was named part-time head coach. He stepped down in 1987, but returned as a volunteer assistant coach from 1988 to 1999. Then, once again, he became a paid, part-time coach, serving from 2000 to 2006.
Ward still devotes large amounts of his time to the crew program as a referee and a general handyman. A skilled craftsman and woodworker, he has been the de facto boathouse manager for years. He repairs boats, has built boats, and is responsible for purchasing and assembling the boathouse workbench materials, often at his own expense.
In recognition of his long and dedicated service, Ithaca College has named the boathouse in the new Robert B. Tallman Rowing Center in his honor. The Ward Romer Boathouse, almost twice the size of the original boathouse, features a well-equipped workshop, where Ward will continue to maintain and repair his beloved boats.