Former College of Staten Island President Dr. Tomás D. Morales returned to the CSI campus for a special ceremony to dedicate the campus baseball field as the Tomás D. Morales Baseball Field. Following the ceremony, Morales threw out the first pitch at the CSI Dolphins vs CCNY Beavers baseball game.
An avid New York and Staten Island Yankees fan, Dr. Morales was President of the College of Staten Island from 2007 to 2012. He currently serves as the President of California State University, San Bernadino. The field renaming recognizes and honors Dr. Morales’s deep commitment to the Athletics program and its many student-athletes and scholar-athletes.
During the ceremony on the newly named field, Jane Rogers, President and General Manager of the Staten Island Yankees, presented Dr. Morales with a framed, customized team jersey, and CSI Interim President Dr. William J. Fritz unveiled the brass plaque dedicating the field.
“From his very first day, Dr. Morales stressed his desire to see our Athletic program flourish, and he never wavered,” commented student-athlete Bryan Moreno, a catcher and outfielder for the CSI Dolphins baseball team during his remarks from the podium. “He became a mentor for our coaches and a role model for our students. By looking over our shoulders and seeing him behind us in his Dolphins jacket, supporting us the way he did, and knowing that off the field he was lobbying just as hard for us and our needs, is something that I know we will never forget, and it is only fair that many classes that come after us understand that significance with the naming of the field.” Moreno a Communications major in his last year at CSI, presented Morales with a signed team baseball hat.
The City University of New York’s Board of Trustees approved the resolution on June 25, 2012, stating that he was a “staunch supporter” of athletics, adding that “President Morales instituted the CSI Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and the CSI Future of Athletics Advisory Task Force.” During his tenure as President, CSI won numerous CUNYAC Championships and an ECAC Championship, with the Dolphins also going on to make multiple national championship appearances.
“Tomás Morales was a visionary President of the College of Staten Island,” noted Dr. Fritz, adding, “His lifelong personal and professional commitment to improving the student experience is nowhere more evident than at CSI, and his commitment to our Athletics program and our student-athletes and scholar-athletes during his tenure is one of many ways he helped transform the College. Better than anyone, he understood that athletics is an integral part of student life that has the power to increase access, persistence, and success in higher education.”
“Dr. Morales was an avid supporter of the CSI Athletics program and its community from his first day on campus to his last,” noted Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. A. Ramona Brown, who oversees the Athletics program. “Through his leadership, CSI Athletics has reached its potential in a variety of ways. From fortifying its commitment to academic integrity through its increasing number of scholar-athletes to improved facilities for intercollegiate and intramural athletics, the installation and groundwork of the CSI Hall of Fame to its standing as one of the perennial powers in the CUNYAC and beyond on the field of play, much of the accomplishments of the program can be attributed to Dr. Morales’s hard work and efforts to nurture and oversee the Athletics program and its facilities. We are excited for this naming opportunity that symbolizes Dr. Morales’s significant contribution to CSI Athletics.”
Dr. Morales, along with Councilmember James Oddo, was instrumental in having a custom lighting system installed on the College’s softball field. He formulated the creation of the CSI Future of Athletics Advisory Task Force, as well as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee/Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, which officially recognizes the College’s scholar-athletes who constitute over 40% of its overall student-athlete body. Dr. Morales was the keynote speaker at each of the Athletic program’s Awards Banquets held every May and was the recipient of the 2012 CSI Athletics Distinguished Service Award.
Dr. Morales was also a recipient of CUNY’s Ellis J. Bullock Award in March 2012. Zak Ivkovic, Executive Director of the CUNY Athletic Conference, noted during the ceremony that Dr. Morales’s “support goes beyond words and is always backed up with his personal appearances, words of encouragement, and cheering for the home team. I know our students and coaches appreciate it and we wanted to thank him on behalf of all of them. He exemplifies the spirit of Ellis Bullock and ConEdison as they have done the same for CUNY student-athletes for the past 36 years.”
The College of Staten Island’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held October 2012 and honored seven individuals: Ira Sweet, Elizabeth Zwingraf, Evan Pickman, John Cali, Jacclyn Rock, Jeff Benjamin, and Sonny Grasso. The honorees represented a total of 150 years of service as administrators, coaches, and student-athletes. The second Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for 2014.