When Ohio Wesleyan University athletes take to Selby Field these days, they have alumnus Mort Bouchard III ’80 to thank for the stadium’s Omnigrass artificial playing surface. And when they battle opponents at Roy Rike Field, they have Bouchard to thank for funding many of its upgrades and improvements.
The Battling Bishop men’s and women’s lacrosse, track and field, field hockey, and football teams gathered at Selby Field on Wednesday to thank Bouchard for his generosity and to witness his being awarded an OWU Founders’ Medal.
The medal, recognizing Bouchard for contributions exceeding $1 million, was placed around his neck by student Stephen Coyne ’14 of Huntington, New York. Coyne was recruited to Ohio Wesleyan and the men’s lacrosse team by Bouchard, also of New York, who played varsity lacrosse under then-lacrosse coach and mentor Jay Martin.
Current lacrosse players Sean-Paul Mauro ’11, a midfielder and letter-winner from McMurray, Pennsylvania, and Molly Curry ’13, a midfielder from Holliston, Massachusetts, spoke during the award ceremony, thanking Bouchard for his commitment to his alma mater.
Mauro, a politics and government major and economics minor, recognized Bouchard as a role model and example for current student-athletes to follow. Bouchard, who majored in economics, today is president and CEO of Bouchard Transportation Company, Inc., the largest barge company serving the petroleum industry on the East Coast.
Curry, an art education major, noted that Bouchard’s gifts have benefited the entire community.
“As a member of the Ohio Wesleyan community, I am excited to support my fellow student-athletes at the community football game under the lights, the NCAA track and field championships, and all the other events at Selby,” Curry said. “The ability to have events like these not only strengthens the Ohio Wesleyan community, but the community within Delaware as well.”
OWU President Rock Jones also recognized Bouchard for his generosity and shared information about the prestigious Founders’ Medal.
The medal bears the likeness of OWU founder Adam Poe, who raised funds to establish the University in 1842. The medal links Poe’s original vision and the “sustaining vision of people like Mort Bouchard,” Jones said.
Bouchard, in thanking everyone for the surprise ceremony, encouraged OWU’s student-athletes to be careful to always act responsibly to protect themselves and to honor their families and the University.
“The experience here at Ohio Wesleyan is something you’re never going to forget,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be playing a varsity sport.”
Jones concluded the ceremony by urging the student-athletes to “bring it in” for Bouchard, who led everyone in a 1-2 “OWU” cheer.