In events surrounding the September 27 Princeton-Yale field hockey game, the University celebrated the nearly completed two-year project to renovate the lacrosse and field hockey facilities.
Princeton’s team, the reigning NCAA champion, marked the occasion with a 2-0 victory.
Before the game, alumni, parents, friends, students, and administrators gathered nearby for a brief ceremony.
“I am delighted that my first official dedication as president is an inspiring example of Princeton’s team spirit,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83. “It was a true team effort that transformed Class of 1952 Stadium and gave us Sherrerd and Bedford Fields, which now provide ideal playing conditions for our Tigers.”
A consortium of alumni, parents, and friends, led by John O. Wynne ’67 and Benjamin H. Griswold IV ’62, provided the funds to enhance the stadium and create two state-of-the-art playing fields, each with the preferred surface for their intended sport. The lacrosse field was converted to FieldTurf and dedicated last year in honor of the late John J. F. (Jay) Sherrerd ’52, one of the University’s most beloved alumni leaders.
Bedford Field was converted to wet AstroTurf in time for the 2012 field hockey season, when the Tigers won their first NCAA championship and clinched their 21st Ivy League trophy. Over the summer of 2013, the field was equipped with lighting and a grandstand for 1,500 spectators. The project is expected to be completed later this fall.
During halftime of the field hockey game, the University rededicated the playing field in memory of Paul Bedford, a longtime trustee and member of the Class of 1897.
Eisgruber, along with Vice President for Campus Life Cynthia Cherrey and Ford Family Director of Athletics Gary D. Walters ’67, gathered on the field with representatives from Athletics and the Friends of Princeton Field Hockey to pay tribute to the alumnus who funded Princeton’s first Bedford Field in 1934.
Paul Bedford served the University for more than seven decades. In addition to his support for athletics, he also established the Friends of Music at Princeton, led the fundraising effort to build Firestone Library, and was an alumni trustee, charter trustee, and trustee emeritus for 37 years. In 1965, he was dubbed “that Prince of Princetonians” by President Robert F. Goheen ’40 *48, who noted that Bedford had “graced the meetings of the Board of Trustees for 35 years, delighting them with his humor, impressing them with his wisdom.” He died in 1967.
Bedford Field has changed its location, playing surface, and amenities over the years, but not its name. Originally sited where Roberts Stadium now stands, the current Bedford Field was established in 1986. Ten years later, Class of 1952 Stadium was built next to it.
The ceremony honoring Bedford also recognized the many other Princetonians whose contributions ensured that Princeton’s lacrosse and field hockey teams have fields fit for champions.