The Class of ’72 is truly a remarkable group and Salisbury Gentlemen of character. With fellowship and pride, they returned to the Hilltop in September twenty strong. As if that was not meaningful enough, these men were committed to having Woody Rutter '98 (Hon.) and other long-serving members of the Salisbury community join them for the celebration. One can imagine no greater tribute for an educator than to have his charges of many years ago show such gratitude and dedication.
On a picture-perfect Saturday at the lake, the “perfect boat,” a new eight-person shell with state-of-the-art Salisbury-branded oars was christened, The Woody Rutter. The Class of ’72 (Salisbury legends on the water during their own time) donated the boat with the goal of perpetuating excellence and providing the current oarsmen with the same opportunities to chase dreams and earn medals as they had. Of note, Woody’s dedication to the crew program during his time at Salisbury had him traveling overseas with the team. In the 1980's, Woody and his family donated a new eight-person shell (wood, of course) in honor of his father, Joseph Ormsby Rutter. The original Woody Rutter shell was given in honor of Woody in 1998 by Former Trustee James M. Johnson and his son, Jesse ’89. Other than the incredible coaches of yesterday and today, there has been no greater rowing stalwart at Salisbury than Woody.
As tradition dictates, Head Coach Toby Ayer tied the generations of Salisbury men together with words of history and meaning for the sport with strong optimism and encouragement for days to come. As he finished speaking, he handed Woody a chalice with water acquired from the finish line of our racecourse to pour across the bow of the sleek, carbon fiber beauty. If a picture speaks 1,000 words, the ambition of the current team was only matched by the pride of the Class of ’72 and the honor and humility in Woody Rutter’s eyes.
View photos here.
-Written by Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Peter Gilbert P'18, '20