A Strong Affinity

Men’s Crew Alumni Association successful example of UD Affinity Group
Article By: Nadine Sabater


For UD rowers, the bonds they make on the water often extend beyond graduation. These life-long connections have helped the Men’s Crew Alumni Association grow into one of the most active and successful affinity groups at UD. Not only are these members committed to staying engaged with each other and UD Crew, but they are dedicated fundraisers, determined to help Crew excel at the University. Money raised by the Men’s Crew Alumni Association has helped fund racing shells, transportation, travel costs, scholarships and more – all to benefit the current UD Crew Program.

Dan Fitzpatrick, past rower and graduate of the Class of 2007, believes in paying it forward so future rowers have better equipment and more opportunities.

“Giving back is really important to us. As students we saw what our coaches gave us without asking,” said Fitzpatrick. “Now that we’re older, more mature and more successful, everyone wants to make good on what they were given. We have a greater appreciation for it and just want to give back in any way we can.”

That passion and desire to give back extend beyond the UD crew members—past or present. It includes embracing and caring for each other’s families and loved ones as well, such as when rowers from the Class of 2007 banded together to support their fellow rower Ryan Allen and his wife, Danielle, after the tragic loss of their daughter, Valentina M. Allen.

After Valentina passed away in 2015 from a rare heart abnormality, these rowers collectively raised $10,000 for a new 4+ shell named in her memory. At the Crew Program’s 12th Annual Alumni and Family Day, more than 150 alumni, parents and rowers attended the special boat dedication, in honor of Valentina.

“I think the generosity of this group speaks to the special character of the men and women of this program and subsequently as alumni,” said Head Coach Chuck Crawford at the dedication ceremony.

Ultimately, the Association’s comradery has only grown deeper over the years as members of the affinity group continue to build relationships with each other and dedicate their efforts to supporting current rowers as friends and fundraisers. Members of the Association are inspired to give back to UD for all different reasons.

“I love everything I did at UD and every day that I was there,” said Fitzpatrick. “I couldn’t have done it on my own and I think a lot of us feel that way. We know we have a responsibility to give back and we take that very seriously.”

About UD Affinity Groups

UD Affinity Groups are organized by areas that alumni were passionate about as students such as departments, programs, athletics, and/or registered student organizations. They offer ways for alumni to stay connected with each other and with UD. Email alumnet@udel.edu to learn more.

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