On Thursday, October 18, the College proudly recognized Ted Beneski '78, P'08 and Laurie Beneski P'08 for their extraordinary leadership and generosity in the Promise Campaign by naming the men's and women's soccer program in their honor. Amherst celebrated the Beneskis and fêted the newly named program with a reception at the Powerhouse, where the Beneski family and their friends were joined by the men's and women's soccer teams, representatives from the athletics department, President Biddy Martin, and the Board of Trustees.
The Beneskis have a long history with the College as parents, volunteers, and supporters. Ted is a current trustee and Promise Campaign co-chair. Their commitment to the Promise Campaign is supporting academic initiatives and the Amherst student experience. The Beneskis are also longtime supporters of the Amherst Fund and athletics. In 2011, the Beneski Earth Sciences Building and Beneski Museum of Natural History were named in honor of Ted and Laurie Beneski's generosity to the Lives of Consequence Campaign.
Guests at the event heard remarks from President Martin, Head Coaches Jen Hughes and Justin Serpone, players on the men's and women's teams, and Ted Beneski. The Mammoths soccer teams also presented the Beneskis with a commemorative jersey.
Ted Beneski majored in economics at Amherst and graduated with honors. He also was a member of the baseball and soccer teams, and served as soccer captain his senior year under longtime coach and Director of Athletics Peter Gooding. Ted met Laurie, a Mt. Holyoke alumna, during his senior year at Amherst. They currently live in Texas and have three children, Kristen (class of 2008), Jeff, and David.
After Amherst, Ted received an MBA from Harvard Business School and launched his career in banking. He worked for Bain & Co., becoming a senior partner and co-founding the company's Dallas office. In 2002, he founded Insight Equity, a private equity firm.
Ted and Laurie Beneski focus their volunteerism and philanthropy on educational opportunities for young people. Over the years, the Beneskis have constructed field houses and athletic fields, developed after-school programs, coached Little League and started soccer clubs. This focus stems in part from their experience with their own children, but also from a belief that athletics is an avenue for refining skills of teamwork, perseverance, and commitment, and opportunities for personal growth. As Ted shared with the College in 2011, athletics have played a critical role in his own life; he recalled that a promotion early in his career was based on two qualities: fire in the belly and "coachability"—traits he first learned in sports.
Of their support for the College and investment in the soccer program, the Beneskis stated, "We know firsthand how educational and transformative athletics can be for students, enhancing their academic and social lives, teaching important life lessons, and instilling values that carry forward long after graduation. We are proud to support the College's educational mission to help students pursue their passions and strive for excellence both in and beyond the classroom."
President Martin lauded the Beneskis' extraordinary dedication to Amherst, saying, "Amherst is fortunate to have alumni and supporters like Ted and Laurie Beneski, who care about the entire span of experience at the College. They have supported academics at Amherst, our career center, and now our soccer program. Through their generosity, the Beneskis are helping students build a full range of lifelong skills, including the tenacity and drive that come from athletic engagement."
Earlier this year, Amherst launched Promise: The Campaign for Amherst's Third Century, a five-year, $625 million comprehensive campaign, which will preserve Amherst's longstanding strengths while supporting the College's ambitions to innovate in instructional and curricular practices. The campaign will ensure that the College has the students, faculty, facilities, and resources to extend its leadership into the future.