The Alumni Volunteer Award is given each year in recognition of meritorious service to Hiram College. Gary Lipski won presented the award hands-down - an apt description of a happy situation he has found himself in many times before. Gary is Hiram's only All-American golfer. He earned a varsity position his freshman year as the number five man and by the end of the season, was voted the team's most valuable player, an award he was to win for the next three years as well. Also captain of the golf team for his final three years, he earned all-conference honors at the Ohio Athletic Conference meet his senior year, and went on to earn All-American recognition in the NCAA tournament.
Gary Lipski is a winner, to be sure, but that is not why the Alumni Association elected to honor him with an award. He was picked instead because of his winning attitude. That attitude propelled him to success in his professional life as mid-Atlantic regional manager for Champion Products, and for the last two years, it has propelled Hiram College to success on a project of critical importance -- the new sports, recreation and fitness center.
When Gary heard about plans to provide a significant upgrade to sports and recreation facilities at Hiram, he volunteered to help in any way he could. That help included chairing the effort to take the project to the Hall of Fame members. It included organizing a golf outing to introduce former Hiram athletes to the ways they could help make the new facility a reality. It included making personal calls and visits to alumni all over the country to emphasize how important the new facility would be to the quality of the athletic program, to the sense of community on this campus, and to the College's ability to recruit and retain students. The results of his efforts can be seen by the fact that the College closed in on completing an $800,000 challenge grant from the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation. Attainment now stands at more than $10.6 million, including a leadership level commitment from Gary. Hiram was able to meet their goals with Gary's energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to work non-stop on behalf of his alma mater, there was no doubt that Hiram College would achieve success. Failure was not an option for Gary.
Sports marketing is a field Gary knows inside out. Besides putting that knowledge to work for the rec center, Gary has lent his time and expertise - and that of his staff at Champion Sports - to another project - the transformation of the Hiram Terrier. Gary's creative input was invaluable.
Gary has worked non-stop on behalf of Hiram athletics, infusing our efforts with his infectious enthusiasm and his drive. His efforts make him most deserving of the Hiram College Alumni Volunteer Award for 2003.