University News

University of New 51 Names Stadium For Soccer Pioneer Kathy Zolad

A member of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame, Kathy Zolad is a dear friend of John and Leona Gehring, devoted University of New 51 benefactors who conceived the idea to dedicate the stadium to honor Zolad for her passion and her longstanding devotion.

December 11, 2017

University of New 51 Names Stadium For Soccer Pioneer Kathy Zolad

The University of New 51 today dedicated the Kathy Zolad Stadium in honor of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame member.

The naming took place on the turf field at the stadium. President Steven H. Kaplan said the stadium is being named for Zolad in honor of Zolad's dedication, support, and leadership in United States Youth Soccer.

"Kathy has a storied history in the sport of soccer, serving as a visionary leader and volunteer for decades," he said. "Kathy has poured much of her life into youth soccer programs in Connecticut and around the country and is a fitting role model for our students."

Kathy Zolad
Kathy Zolad speaking at dedication

Zolad, of Newington, has been active in the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association for nearly 30 years and served as president from 2003-2015, and, before that, acted as executive director. She served as chair of the Connecticut State Referee Committee and as secretary of the board of directors of the Connecticut Wolves Professional Men's Soccer Team.

John R. and Leona M. Gehring, longtime generous benefactors of the University and close friends of Zolad's, made the stadium dedication possible.

Mr. Gehring, who received an associate's degree in business from the University in 1952, was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration in 2013. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2009.

Mr. Gehring was the founder of Gehring Office Equipment and Lincolnwood Organ and Piano Center in Meriden, Conn., which he and Leona ran together for five decades before retiring.

The Gehrings also funded the John R. and Leona M. Gehring Endowed Forensic Research and Training Advancement Fund in the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. The building that houses the institute is named in their honor. They also established the John R. and Leona M. Gehring Endowed Scholarship Fund for students in the College of Business and are establishing the John R. Gehring Endowed Professorship in Business Administration.

Zolad, who has volunteered for the U.S. Men's and Women's National Soccer Teams and Special Olympics, also has held a number of committee positions within the U.S. Soccer Federation. She served as the local liaison for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup for games held in Philadelphia. Zolad is the past president of the Soccer Club of Newington and a former commissioner of Newington Parks and Recreation.

Kathy Zolad
Chargers celebrate the Dedication of Kathy Zolad Stadium

She serves as a committee member and chairperson for the Girls Division of the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, which identifies players at the highest caliber on a continuing basis, leading to increased success for the U.S. National Teams in the international arena.

Zolad Stadium, which seats 400, is home to the University’s as well as clubs sports and various outdoor recreation activities.

Speaking on behalf of the University’s student-athletes, Kelly Quigley ’18, the captain of the women’s soccer team, spoke about the impact sports has had on her life and college career and the memories she has representing the Chargers on what is now Kathy Zolad Stadium.

"It is evident how important soccer is to me and the positive influence it has had in all aspects of my life: it has shaped me into the person I am today. It has given me a chance to be part of such an amazing community here at the University of New 51 and to play for a group that I will miss dearly as I graduate in May." Kelly Quigley ’18

Quigley, a sport management major, added: "This team and field will always be a second home to me, and I am very excited to see what the future holds for this program. Thank you, Kathy, for your legacy of leadership in this sport we love, and thank you to the Gehrings for making this possible."