WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Department of Athletics officially unveiled its brand new, state-of-the-art tennis complex with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony earlier this month. The complex, which remains where the previous courts laid, has been dedicated and named in memory of Elizabeth Ferry Speer, a friend, philanthropist, and champion of the game.
Limited by COVID-19 precautions, a small but enthusiastic group of supporters gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Elizabeth Ferry Speer Tennis Complex on a beautiful October afternoon in West Hartford. The six post-tension courts that comprise the complex were constructed by Cape and Island Tennis and Track and designed to withstand New England winters. The courts, which will serve as home for our long-standing USJ women's tennis program and newly-formed men's tennis program, are painted in Biscayne Blue surrounded by Oasis Blue, mirroring the style of courts played on at the Miami Open.
Mrs. Elizabeth Ferry Speer, who passed away peacefully on February 6, 2014, was a long-time resident of Bloomfield, a believer in the importance of Catholic education and a competitive amateur tennis player. At the dedication, Attorney John Drew, Trustee for the Elizabeth Ferry Speer Foundation, described Mrs. Speer's competitive fire and her commitment to philanthropy.
In addition, three of the six individual courts were dedicated and named in recognition of important members of the USJ community. The Maureen Dunn Fox '55, P'81, P'82, DAA '84, GP'20 Court was given by Ellen Fox Spalluto '82 and Joseph Spalluto to honor the memory of Mrs. Fox who died in March 2019.
The Garmany Court is named to recognize the late Richard P. Garmany whose fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving provides major support for arts and education throughout the Greater Hartford area.
The Walsh Court was given by an anonymous friend of the University to honor Thomas Walsh, Jr who served as assistant women's tennis coach from 1994-2001 and head coach from 2002-2014. Coach Walsh coached 12 All-Conference players at USJ, led the team to eight GNAC Tournaments and was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2003 and in 2010.
The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted fall sports and the 2020 women's tennis season, however the team has been practicing on the courts for the past several weeks. A spring tennis season has yet to be finalized, but stay tuned for a possible schedule release and the first official match at the Elizabeth Ferry Speer Tennis Complex.
About USJ Athletics
University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Athletics is a NCAA Division III member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Blue Jays field 15 varsity sports with 200-plus student-athletes. For more information, please visit www.usjbluejays.com.