University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley was honored with a Ground Breaking and Vision Award from Roxbury Community College on Friday during the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala.
The “Reggie,” which opened in 1995, has served as the primary facility for thousands of Massachusetts high school track and field athletes in more than 90 events each year. It also serves as a community fitness center, and as a host for community youth programs and other events.
The statewide facility was established following a more than three-decade effort by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association. The "Reggie" has since hosted 41 World and American records in track and field, plus USA Track and Field Championships, the NCAA Track and Field Championships, and the Boston Indoor Games.
As an early champion and strong advocate for the facility, Motley first attended its ground breaking with other community leaders. He received the Ground Breaking and Vision Award on Friday for “his involvement with the center since its inception, his continued support of the center and its activities, and most of all, his mentoring and guidance over the past 20 years,” according to a statement from Roxbury Community College.
“Whenever an event or competition is scheduled here, we recall the big-hearted basketball player, Reggie Lewis, who left us too early but imprinted his influence indelibly on our souls and his legacy indelibly in our community,” Motley said as he accepted the award Friday. “We have all been privileged to serve and to have been served by his great legacy for the last 20 years. Your presence here tonight indicates that you are contributing to the next 20.”
More than 750 people attended the "Reggie" gala, including Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin Walsh, and more than $150,000 was raised for an endowment to support programs at the center.
In addition to Motley, the gala honored the late Bob McIntyre, the first executive director of the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association, and current Executive Director Frank Mooney through the endowment in their names. Other honorees included Larry Ames, former assistant sports editor of the Boston Globe, longtime “Reggie” employees Wavel Johnson and Rosie Clinton, and member Hazel Smalls.