With a career spanning more than three decades at Stony Brook University, both as a coach and an administrator, John Ramsey has seen it all.
He has witnessed firsthand the evolution of Stony Brook Athletics and its undeniable impact on the greater university community, from the expansion of women’s intercollegiate sports to major facility upgrades that brought the university’s first gymnasium, turf installation, lighted stadiums and indoor practice fields.
“At the Division I level, many of our student- athletes are now recruited, and they are astute, intelligent and highly sought after for their talents,” Ramsey says. “By growing our athletics programs and improving our facilities, we have been able to attract these top student-athletes.”
Today, the John Ramsey Leadership Society, named for Stony Brook’s beloved men’s soccer coach and the first director of the Division of Physical Education and Athletics, honors the generous donors whose philanthropy makes this growth possible and continues to transform the lives of the university’s student-athletes.
These gifts may benefit a sport-specific fund for excellence, Seawolves United unrestricted giving or any current department capital project, endowment or scholarship.
Regardless of where that support is directed, Ramsey believes the pay-it-forward mentality of these supporters — many of whom are former student-athletes themselves — has made these programs what they are today.
“Student-athletes in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s did not have the amenities we have today. Still, they have been fortunate enough to experience success in their lives and are eager to share that.”
Even now, in retirement, Ramsey recalls receiving word of the first major gift to the athletics department, one that, unbeknownst to anyone, would lay the foundation for the leadership society that would one day bear his name.
“All levels of giving are important,” he says. “But at that time, even a four-figure gift was unheard of. Learning of such generosity was really touching. That day will stay with me for the rest of my life.”