Cornell’s new baseball stadium on Ellis Hollow Road will be called Booth Field, honoring Richard L. “Rich” Booth ’82 for his extraordinary leadership and generosity – much of it anonymous – over the last four decades.
The Cornell Board of Trustees approved the naming of the new field earlier this year. Hoy Field, where Cornell’s baseball team has played for 100 years, at the corner of Hoy and Campus roads, is being replaced by a state-of-the-art academic building for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. Booth Field is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2023 season.
“Booth Field will be a terrific new home for Cornell baseball, and I’m delighted that Rich has agreed to let us honor him in this way,” President Martha E. Pollack said. “His leadership and quiet generosity over so many years have had an enormous impact on Cornell athletics, and on the generations of students whose Cornell experiences have been shaped and enriched through the Big Red.”
Booth – a pitcher during his playing days, who also endowed Cornell’s head baseball coaching position in memory of his coach, Ted Thoren – served on the Board of Trustees from 2008-16. As a trustee, he led a task force on athletics and financial aid and served on several board committees.
A presidential councillor, Booth has been a member of the Athletics Advisory Council since 2005, and served as chair from 2005-08. He recently joined the new Campaign Committee for Student and Campus Life and Athletics.
“Being a Cornell baseball player was probably one of the most formative experiences of my life,” Booth said. “I’ve always wanted to support Cornell baseball and Cornell athletics in general. I had a wonderful time at Cornell, and I want others to have the same experience I had, or better.”
J. Andrew Noel, the Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education, described the honor as a “recognition of uncommon philanthropy.”
“Rich Booth has been the athletics department’s most philanthropic benefactor in all my time at Cornell,” said Noel, who arrived at Cornell as wrestling coach in 1974. “We’ve had a number of incredibly generous friends who’ve helped us in significant ways. And if not for them – and especially Rich – our department would not be the department that it is today.”
Said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life: “I have found Rich to be the epitome of a Cornellian: thoughtful, generous, supportive and deeply committed to enhancing the student experience. I know the humble spirit that Rich brings to everything he does made it hard for him to accept this honor, but it is so well deserved after decades of quiet but remarkable generosity and support.”
Booth, who retired in 2021 as managing director of HBK Investments of Dallas, Texas, lives with his wife, Roxanne, in Charlottesville, Virginia; they also own a home just off campus and said they will be in attendance for the Big Red’s ’23 home opener. They have three children – J.T., Morgan and Rachel ’22, who played polo at Cornell.
“Roxanne and I have both felt very lucky to have had the experiences we’ve had and we value the opportunity to stay involved,” he said. “We’ve always believed that giving our time and money to make opportunities available for the next generation was important. Cornell is an amazing place and we love supporting its mission.”