Columbia University will rename its soccer stadium after Mediacom chairman and CEO and Columbia alumnus Rocco B. Commisso in a special ceremony Oct, 12.
The dedication ceremony will take place on the field at 5:30 p.m. between the Columbia Women and Men’s Soccer matches vs. the University of Pennsylvania, and will be immediately followed by a reception at The Campbell Sports Center. Attending the event will be the largest gathering of soccer alumni in Columbia’s history, spanning five decades.
In addition, the reception program will include appearances by former Columbia head men’s soccer coaches and current head men and women’s soccer coaches Kevin Anderson and Kevin McCarthy. At halftime of the men’s soccer match vs. Penn, Columbia will also celebrate the 20th and 30th anniversaries of the Men’s Soccer Ivy League Championship Teams of 1993 and 1983 on the field at the newly-named Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium, which is located on W. 218th Street in upper Manhattan, New York City.
“We are thrilled to name our soccer stadium after Rocco Commisso,” said Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education for Columbia in a statement. “Rocco has always been such a wonderful supporter of the University and our soccer program. His generosity means so much to our men and women’s soccer teams – his contributions truly help transform the experiences of the young men and women who compete for Columbia.”
Commisso was a member of the 1967 Columbia freshman men’s soccer team, which finished undefeated, and was co-captain of the 1970 varsity men’s squad, the first Columbia soccer team to compete in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament. He is a three time All-Ivy League Honoree and was invited, along with his teammate and cocaptain, All-American Len Renery, to participate in the 1972 Olympic Soccer Team Trials. He has long credited soccer with enabling him to receive an Ivy League education.
Commisso has been an active contributor to the Columbia men’s soccer program for more than 40 years. Among other initiatives, he co-founded the alumni advisory group Friends of Columbia Soccer, and served as its Chair from 1979 to 1986. For more than a decade, Columbia has awarded an annual Men’s Soccer Prize in his name.
Born in Calabria, Italy, Commisso earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and a master’s degree from Columbia Business School. He was elected president of the business school student body and was the recipient of the prestigious Business School Service Award.
In 2004, on the 250th anniversary of Columbia’s founding, the school’s undergraduate newspaper, Columbia Daily Spectator, listed Commisso among Columbia’s 250 greatest undergraduate alumni of all time.