Heidelberg honored one of its most iconic families and a dear friend with the dedication of H’s Track on Saturday.
The new dual-tone track, which encircles the new turf completed a year ago, is named to honor the late Theodore “Ted” Hieronymus, ’65, a major benefactor and Trustee whose generosity through the years to ensure the future of his alma mater is nearly unequalled. It was the giving of Ted and his wife, Jane (Hoernemann) Hieronymus, ’64, that provided funding for the completion of the turf and track restoration project.
An accomplished track student-athlete and musician, Ted was a larger-than-life figure who frequently gave back to Heidelberg. “He was so generous to his alma mater, so generous to students … truly an inspirational man,” said Phil Ness, vice president for University Advancement & Marketing. “He demonstrated his love for Heidelberg in so, so many ways.”
The new track, which is now NCAA-compliant, puts Heidelberg track and field on the map, said Brian Grime, director of the cross country and track and field programs. Already, both programs have begun to realize the benefits of practicing and competing on “one of the best track and field facilities not just in the state of Ohio but also in the entire country.”
For the first time in about two decades, Heidelberg hosted a home meet and has two more this season, including the OAC Track Championships on April 30-May 1.
“We’ve been able to keep our student-athletes healthier by practicing on a quality surface that prevents injuries,” Brian said.
He also noted the positive impact the new track has had on recruiting prospective student-athletes. “Seeing the reaction from (prospective) students and their families is something we’ve never been able to do before. Seeing our track for the first time leaves a lasting impression on them, and rightfully so.” It’s exactly what the program needed to grow, he added.
Representing track student-athletes, Marques Johnson said, “We love our new home.” Accessibility to H’s Track “gives us a certain comfort level as we practice and compete on the same surface.”
“Having home field advantage on H’s Track gives athletes more confidence to compete at the highest level,” Marques said, adding that he and his teammates are expecting the track will help to produce amazing times this year.
Jane Hieronymus represented the family at the dedication and thanked her alma mater for honoring the permanent footprint that Ted left at Heidelberg.
“Our family hopes that all of the footprints who use H’s Track excel in sport and enjoy the recreation of the track,” Jane said.
President Rob Huntington, reflecting on Ted’s legacy and expressing Heidelberg’s appreciation, said the university is “incredibly grateful for the continuation of kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and care” that the family has provided.
Ted had a way of exuding joy through his life’s work, whether in music or athletics. “Through thick and thin, success and failure, what Jane and Ted brought was the ability to keep climbing,” Rob said. “They have helped us look at all the ways to celebrate life.”
“Of this I am sure. This is a wonderful moment. We will always be grateful and joyful for Ted Hieronymus,” Rob concluded.