Florida’s oldest private college opened its lacrosse and soccer field on Friday, naming the facility Berend Field in honor of 1992 graduate Dr. Keith Berend.
In front of dozens of current athletes dressed in their red Florida Southern Moccasins, as well as faculty, administrators and other supporters, Florida Southern College unveiled its new field name, which can be seen on the field, the south dashboard and north windshield surrounding the ground. For the past five years, the name has been Moccasin Field.
The new NCAA Division II school ground is called Berend, who played flag football during his studies before continuing his graduate studies at Duke and becoming a renowned orthopedic doctor in New Albany, Ohio. The Columbus, Ohio native has published more than 230 peer-reviewed hip and knee articles.
Berend, a passionate donor and school administrator, is directly responsible for several philanthropic initiatives in South Florida that promote the education of students in the fields of medicine and the natural sciences. He said he was emotional during the formal affair.
“It’s incredibly humbling to finally see the dedication from the pitch,” said Berend. “(I) have been involved for many years and it’s really inspiring. It’s humbling. I really didn’t think I would be as emotional as I am seeing what this field means for the campus, the coaches and student-athletes, it’s just great to be a part of it.
Berend’s involvement in the university has come full circle. Not only did he attend school in the late ’80s and’ 90s, but Berend’s daughter, Molly, graduated from school earlier this year. She has played lacrosse, winning numerous awards including the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the DII Athletic Director’s Association Academic Excellence Award.
With the support of Berend, the completion of the Barnett Athletic Complex in 2017 gave the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams a permanent home, joining the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Women’s lacrosse head coach Kara Reber, who guided the Mocs to Sunshine State conference titles in ’17 and ’18, said the resort was instrumental in the success of their program.
“I think having this facility has been absolutely amazing, and it’s definitely a game-changer when it comes to being able to sell the school with potential student-athletes, being on campus,” he said. she declared. “The environment that it is with the amount of fans that we get in games is just a great place. We are certainly extremely grateful to the Berend family for their donation so that we can get our games program on the campus. “
Florida Southern Athletic manager Drew Howard is also grateful for Berend’s contributions.
“Today (Friday) is a special day,” he said. “It means a lot to put Berend on the real field and where our student-athletes compete. Being able to bring all of these teams to campus (it’s exceptional). wasn’t training on campus. And there were some students who didn’t necessarily enjoy the campus vibe. So bringing them here on campus has been such an important time for our programs. And today, just to be able to celebrate how it all happened and to be able to name this field with the name Berend Field is just a special moment for our sports programs and our sports department.