Already an establishment known for its tributes to Yale athletics, Mory’s added to its collection last week by inaugurating the Thomas A. Beckett Hall of Champions.
Pictures of all sizes now hang in a corridor connecting Mory’s main dining room to the famed Temple Bar and display the accomplishments of Yale’s many student-athletes as well as those of Beckett during his 21-year tenure as director of athletics. At the end of the corridor are two digital monitors — one shows images of various Yale championship teams since the Ivy League’s inception in 1956 and the other constantly rotates images of all current Yale varsity captains. The project, organized primarily by Mory’s President and former Yale football player Tom Ketchum ’72, was made possible by the donation of 16 families connected to Yale athletics.
“The Hall of Champions at Mory’s is a very impressive display of the prideful athletic accomplishments of the men and women of Yale athletics,” Beckett said. “I am both honored and very humbled to have my name associated with all of these remarkable men and women.”
Plans for the Hall of Champions began last summer by a committee including Ketchum himself, Yale’s Chief Investment Officer David Swensen, Swensen’s wife and former Yale tennis player and coach Meghan McMahon ’87, Deputy Director for External Operations Alison Cole and Associate Athletics Director Steve Conn.
The committee was responsible for deciding who would be featured in the Hall of Champions, Conn said. He added that the final design was completed by Tom Strong of the local graphic design firm Strong Cohen.
“It was an opportunity that Tom Strong made [the Hall] into an open-ended thing,” Conn said. “Photos can be pulled out and updated and the digital [frames] we can update with new teams and information.”
Multiple Yale administrators were present at the unveiling of the hall, including University President Peter Salovey and his wife Marta Moret, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and Jonathan Edwards College Master and Special Assistant to the President Penelope Laurans.
The event was organized as a surprise for Beckett, who did not know the Hall of Champions would be honored in his name.
“It is wonderful to celebrate Tom Beckett, who cares so deeply about Yale’s student-athletes, not just while they are here, but for their entire lives,” Salovey said at the event. “He is a tremendous leader in the Yale community and an inspiration to all of us.”
A panel at the very middle of the hallway commemorates Beckett’s accomplishments in his first two decades at Yale. Those include the renovation and construction of many athletic facilities including the David S. Ingalls Rink and the Israel Fitness Center, the establishment of “crucial” Yale athletic endowments and the recruitment of “some of the world’s finest coaches and student-athletes,” the panel reads.
Although Mory’s previously displayed pictures of team captains, the Hall of Champions will now recognize the work of many more student-athletes who have contributed in their own way to the legacy of Yale athletics, Conn said. He added that this would make more former student-athletes excited about visiting Yale and the Hall of Champions.
“There is not a lot of room since it is a hallway,” Conn said. “But it’s a special hallway. We don’t have a hall of fame at Yale. This is, literally, a hall of champions.”