EAST BOSTON, Mass. – More than 140 guests, including all of the inductees, were in attendance last Wednesday, August 7, at the Hilton Garden Inn Logan Airport in Boston, as eight former student-athlete standouts were enshrined as part of the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Hall of Fame Class including Suffolk's own Michael Maguire.
This 2019 inductees included Ray Askew of Albertus Magnus men's basketball; Iman (Davis) Barbosa of Emmanuel women's basketball; Lamonte Thomas of Johnson & Wales men's basketball; Jose Guitian of Lasell men's basketball; Josh McElroy of Norwich men's soccer; Aaron Dufoe of Rivier men's soccer & men's basketball; Maguire of Suffolk baseball; and Jackie (Shedlock) Kapusta of Western New England softball.
The GNAC appreciates the vast number of constituent groups represented at the event, as numerous delegations were on hand, including GNAC Presidents, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members, Faculty Athletic Representatives (FAR), Senior Woman Administrators (SWA), as well as current and former GNAC administrators and coaches.
Commissioner Joe Walsh began the evening's programming with his opening remarks, before Norwich University FAR Joe Latulippe presented 2019 GNAC Woman of the Year Emily Oliver of Norwich women's volleyball, women's basketball, and softball, with her prestigious honor.
After the Cadets' three-sport standout spoke and thanked the audience, Rivier President Sister Paula Buley, IHM, delivered a brief invocation prior to the dinner. Following the meal, the programming shifted to the introductions, video presentations, and speeches from each of the eight inductees.
Members of the GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council were involved in the introductions, as GNAC national SAAC representative Mikayla Arimura from Johnson & Wales introduced Thomas; Emmanuel College men's lacrosse's Morgan Mercier introduced Barbosa; Norwich women's soccer's Alex MacPherson honored McElroy; and Saint Joseph's (Maine) track & field's Lillian Bisset welcomed Askew.
Former GNAC national SAAC rep Nafeesa Connolly was also on hand to introduce Kapusta. The former Simmons University women's volleyball student-athlete is currently the Athletics Assistant Director for Marketing & Promotions at Boston University.
Previously the NCAA Associate Director of Academic and Membership Affairs, current GNAC Assistant to the Commissioner Chris Brown introduced Guitian, while his predecessor at the conference office, Annie Jenkins, who is now the Assistant Director of Athletic Business Operations at UMass Lowell, welcomed Dufoe.
Various GNAC "founders" were also in attendance, including former GNAC Commissioner and former JWU Athletics Director John Parente, who introduced Maguire.
Also in attendance was GNAC men's basketball assignor Larry Last, as the conference would not be where it is without officials and referees for its 22 championship sports, as well as Tom O'Connor of Reading Trophy & Shirt, which has been the longtime GNAC awards provider for 15 years.
While last Wednesday marked the first-ever Hall of Fame dinner, the 2019 class was the third in the GNAC's rich Hall history.
The inaugural 2010 class included: Emerson College's Rob Hennigan (men's basketball), Emmanuel's Andy Yosinoff (women's basketball head coach), JWU's Milton Johnson (men's soccer), Pine Manor College's Sara Pray (women's soccer, softball), University of Saint Joseph's (Conn.) Noel Kusek (women's volleyball), Simmons University's Krista Dacek (women's soccer), Southern Vermont's Dan Dix (men's cross country), Suffolk's Katie Norton (softball), as well as the 2000 Emmanuel women's basketball team and the 2000 Suffolk University baseball program.
In 2012, Emerson's Ellen Boss (soccer, basketball, softball), JWU's Annemarie Proto (women's volleyball), and University of Saint Joseph's (Conn.) Stacy Manfredi (women's basketball) were all enshrined.