DAPER Announces Renaming of LIFE Fund in Honor of Former Athletic Director/Dept. Head Julie Soriero

Former athletic director Julie Soriero speaking at a podium.
Photo by Gil Talbot

Cambridge, Mass. (August 24) -- The MIT Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) has renamed the DAPER Leadership and Innovation Fund for Excellence in Athletics (LIFE) as the Julie Soriero LIFE Fund, in honor of former Director of Athletics/DAPER Department Head Julie Soriero, who retired in 2019. Soriero served in her role at MIT from 2007-2019 and during her career, she transformed the the department into one of the most successful in the country.

"The LIFE Fund is one of the most important funds that we have in DAPER as it supports so many different projects that help make the MIT student experience one of the best in the world," said Dr. G. Anthony Grant, Director of Athletics/DAPER Department Head. "I am very pleased that this fund has been named after Julie as she has done so much for the profession throughout her career as a coach and an administrator and her legacy is one that deserves to be recognized with something such as this renaming."

The LIFE Fund was originally established as a discretionary endowment fund in 2015 that was fueled by the support of a number of leadership level donors to support a wide variety of DAPER needs and special initiatives. Growing out of an idea shared by Tom Gerrity, one of the former chairs of the DAPER Visiting Committee, the fund provides support for various start-up and one-time initiatives within DAPER that have included facility renovations, increased travel opportunities for club sport championships, varsity athletics team international travel and internships within the department to increase staff diversity.

"I would like to thank Anthony Grant for his support of this and I am very appreciative of having my name associated with a fund that adds such a high value to initiatives that advance DAPER's mission and that have such a direct impact on the experiences of MIT students," said Soriero. "I think it is important for the Athletic Director and Department Head to have discretionary funds to support unique and memorable experiences, creative and aspiring ideas and important and necessary improvements or upgrades to our facilities. Our donors understood that as well and I am pleased to be able to say again how appreciative I have been for their support and for this honor."

Among the larger projects that the fund has supported were the renovations of the Steinbrenner Stadium grandstands, the Sherie and Don (1961) Morrison Outdoor Track, the Fran O'Brien Baseball Field, the Briggs Softball Field and the duPont Outdoor Tennis Courts. Additional projects include the ongoing renovation of the crew boathouse, as well as the replacement of the playing surface in Rockwell Cage. 

Most recently, the fund supported the renovation of the Punj Juice Bar in the Zesiger Center lobby, which in 2019 was converted into the Punj Conference Room and a student study space that is available to all students. In addition, the fund has helped with the purchase of additional new equipment for use in physical education and wellness classes, club sports travel to national championship events and international competitive opportunities for varsity teams.

If you would like to make a gift to honor Julie Soriero, please click here for the giving link. If you have any questions about making a gift, please contact Candace Crabtree, Divisional Director, ALG for DAPER, at ccrabtre@mit.edu.

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