“Knowing how much Crew, the ideology of water, and maritime history means to me, I am truly thankful,” wrote Communication Studies (CMST) Department Chair and Professor of Instruction Scott Gratson, TYL ’19.
On April 29, 2023, the Temple University men’s crew team will officially launch and dedicate a new eight-man boat, named for Gratson and his family. In addition to his family name on the boat, CMST minor and coxswain Hunter Metnick suggested the boat also have the nickname of “The Professor” in honor of Gratson and his long-standing support of the crew team.
Gratson has always been drawn to the ideology of water and the traditions of crew teams both here in the United States and abroad. When a Temple crew student-athlete invited him out on the water in 2005, Gratson jumped at the chance and has been a supporter of the team ever since.
On the first day of fall each year, Gratson goes out with the team to watch the sun rise and attends other practices as well.
CMST alumnus Phil MacNeal, KLN ’20, said he would never forget seeing Gratson in a big coat at 5 a.m. waiting to catch the bus to the boathouse with the team.
“I never would have thought a professor would come out and do the whole shebang, but there he was,” MacNeal said.
Both MacNeal and Metnick noted Gratson’s almost immediate interest in supporting student-athletes in his class. In CMST 1111: Communication and Public Life, a class that all CMST students take, Gratson often asks if he has any student-athletes in the class and is always happy to bond with crew team members about their shared love for water.
“It’s really nice to have a professor that wants to connect with you on more than just an academic level,” Metnick said. “It’s just incredible to have that connection on and off the water.”
The feeling of support isn’t one-sided, though. Gratson can confidently say that he always has a positive experience with crew and always walks away from practices feeling happy, centered and calm.
In 2022, Gratson lost both of his parents within three months of each other. When their estate passed down to him, he wanted to do something to pass on his parents’ legacy. Knowing that he and his parents grew up and always lived by water, Gratson thought a boat would be a good way to honor them.
“I’m very excited to see my family’s name and legacy in the water,” Gratson said.
Though the dedication isn’t until the 29th, the team has already started doing trial runs and races in the boat to get used to the feel of it in the water. You can have a crew team without an accessible river or a boat house, but you cannot have a team without a boat, Gratson said.
To honor the occasion and his parents, Gratson will be wearing the same tuxedo that he defended his dissertation in, shoes that his grandfather made for his father and a locket with his mother’s hair. And, of course, he can’t forget his Temple pride, and is topping off the look with a cherry red bowler hat.
MacNeal noted that while Gratson clearly does the aesthetic of the sport well, he is also now dedicated to being a part of the team for years to come.
The dedication will take place on April 29th at 9:30 a.m. at the East Park Canoe House.