written by Rachel Wachman ’24
Phil Rockwell ’65, MALS ’73, P’11 at all times beloved sports activities.
Throughout highschool in his hometown of Topsfield, Massachusetts, Rockwell performed baseball, soccer, and basketball earlier than turning into co-captain of every crew by senior 12 months. At Wesleyan, he devoted himself to soccer and baseball, in addition to to majoring in English.
Rockwell’s coach and mentor, former Director of Athletics and Head Soccer Coach Don Russell, who handed away in February, supported Rockwell all through his time at Wesleyan and past. In reality, Rockwell initially utilized to Wesleyan after his highschool coach met Russell at a convention. Alongside lots of his teammates, Rockwell went on to foster a decades-long relationship with Russell.
By commencement in 1965, Rockwell, who additionally performed for the Cape Cod League, turned the primary Wesleyan athlete to win the Walter MacNaughten Memorial Baseball Award and the C. Everett Bacon Soccer Trophy in the identical educational 12 months. Since then, solely 4 different college students have obtained each honors concurrently. Rockwell was inducted into Wesleyan’s Baseball Wall of Fame in 2016, and the Athletics Corridor of Fame in 2018.
The primary member of his household to graduate from school, Rockwell attributes a lot of his Wesleyan success to his fraternity (DKE) brothers and his teammates.
“What turns into very placing to me is that the entire nice issues which have ever been achieved, whether or not in medication, politics, authorities, science, the humanities, and sports activities, have not been simply the efforts of 1 individual,” Rockwell mentioned. “It has been actually a crew of individuals….A crew wins collectively and a crew loses collectively.”
Rockwell recalled how busy he was as a multi-sport student-athlete.
“That made Wesleyan a fair higher expertise as a result of in the event you performed a sport, there wasn’t a minute of the day that wasn’t deliberate for observe, since you practiced day by day, and you then needed to go to class, and also you needed to write papers and fulfill different commitments,” Rockwell mentioned.
Although he had a really full schedule, Rockwell defined that athletics enriched his Wesleyan expertise and taught him essential life abilities.
“I at all times take into consideration the way you needed to make use of each minute—whether or not you had been on the bus going to a sport or whether or not you had been studying and fascinated with papers and pulling all-nighters,” Rockwell mentioned. “I keep in mind my father saying, ‘I would like you to play sports activities, but when it is too troublesome, I’d perceive completely in the event you simply centered in your teachers.’ And I at all times thought that was an amazing factor for him to say. I mentioned, ‘No, I will do each.’ So I ended up enjoying soccer and baseball for 4 years.”
“In 1995, quite a few former Wesleyan teammates performed in a senior baseball event in Fort Myers, Florida,” Rockwell recalled. “We had been in our 50s, and Don Russell…flew to Florida and spent per week with us for the event. It was improbable to have our former coach there with us.”
Rockwell emphasised how extremely he values the friendships solid throughout his school years, each by sports activities and thru his fraternity. These friendships, in accordance with Rockwell, had an amazing impact on his life.
Due to the Class of 1965’s fiftieth Reunion, held in 2015, Rockwell continues to be making new Wesleyan buddies.
“In placing collectively this Reunion, quite a few individuals have mentioned, ‘I did not understand how a lot I had in widespread with this individual,’ and different friendships have come up from that,” he defined.
For over 40 years, Rockwell has served as secretary for the Class of 1965, a job he significantly enjoys.
“That has saved me in actually shut contact with each Wesleyan and my classmates,” he elaborated. “And so it is this love affair with Wesleyan that has continued all these years.”
Submit-graduation, Rockwell served as a naval officer for three-and-a-half years earlier than returning to Wesleyan to work within the Workplace of Alumni Relations, the place he stayed from 1969 to 1976. Throughout this time, Rockwell labored with the legendary Invoice Wasch ’52, who supported his want to use for the place of vice chairman of fund growth at Middlesex Memorial Hospital.
“It was an amazing expertise,” Rockwell mentioned. “I felt so lucky to get the provide to come back again to Wesleyan, as a result of I actually wasn’t positive what I used to be going to do after the Navy…. And fund growth and group relations turned my profession.”
Wesleyan additionally led Rockwell to fall in love with Cynthia Rockwell (née Scott), MALS ’19, P ’11, who retired as managing editor after three a long time in the Wesleyan’s Workplace of College Communications. As class secretary, Rockwell met his future spouse by his quarterly submission of 1965’s class notes for the Wesleyan Journal. Their son, Christian Morehouse, graduated from Wesleyan in 2011.
The Rockwell’s, now married for 25 years, each retired and dwelling in Canton, Connecticut, stay near Wesleyan by buddies and sports activities.
“I come to lots of sporting occasions, as many as I can,” Rockwell mentioned. “We went to the Colby sport up in Maine earlier this 12 months. We actually keep related by sports activities.”
He emphasised the enjoyment of coming again to Wesleyan to see a brand new technology of athletes excel on the sphere.
“For these of us who’ve had an extended relationship with Wesleyan and an extended relationship with athletics to come back again right this moment and see what Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83 has put collectively along with his excellent crew of coaches is astounding,” Rockwell remarked. “The concept of getting an emphasis on excellence—whether or not it is soccer or physics—is a good accomplishment for the College.”
Rockwell additionally supplied recommendation to present college students on balancing teachers with their passions.
“Do not let the truth that you get knocked down maintain you again,” Rockwell mentioned. “All you need to do is simply stand up and hold going….That is type of the mantra I’ve tried to observe…I’ve at all times been capable of simply hold going and attempt to be resilient.”