As the University of Rochester’s Fauver Stadium moves forward, its rich football tradition lives on

As the University of Rochester’s Fauver Stadium moves forward, its rich football tradition lives on
1950s new

in the lobby of the Robert Goergen Athletic Center


first Eddie Meath All Star game, August 6th, 1983. Played before 4,500 fans. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

field hockey lightened

(t-b) Kiara Cruz UR ’16, David Kramer, Jhanmarie Ortiz Garcia UR ’16 at the June 11th, 2016 Section V Field Hockey All Star game [Photo: field hockey fan] Note the now demolished press box.

Almost all Rochesterians have enjoyed a sporting event at the University of Rochester’s Fauver Stadium.

Maybe the annual Yellowjacket’s football game during Meliora Weekend. Or the Eddie Meath Section V All Star game played for decades at the Stadium. Or in 1987 when UR’s women’s soccer won its second consecutive national championship with a 1-0 win over William Smith.

Or this summer during the Section V field hockey all star game. My friend and I have even played a decades long fungo game on Fauver’s artificial turf field.

This year big changes are taking place at the Stadium first opened in 1930. The press box, which has undergone several renovations over its time, has been demolished. A new press box, with more seating and better climate control, is planned to open before Labor Day.

Construction has started on a new dormitory, being built into the hill adjacent to Susan B. Anthony Hall (the end zone farthest from the Genesee River). Once completed, it will provide locker room space for Rochester’s teams as well as a new athletic training room, and an equipment room. The space beneath Fauver Stadium will be used for visiting teams.

from yearbook

from the 2015 Rochester Football program. The team photos have appeared in the magazine for over ten years.

As this new chapter opens, we can look back at two signature seasons in the rich tradition of Yellowjacket football: the school’s only two unbeaten teams: ’52 and ’58.

Dennis O’Donnell in the Robert Goergen Athletic Center. 7/12/16

To learn more about the teams. I visited Dennis O’Donnell, UR’s Director of Athletic Communications, in his office in the Robert Goergen Athletic Center.

As Dennis noted, it’s important that someone at a University be fairly well versed in the school’s athletic history. While he modestly doesn’t call himself the leading expert, that man is Dennis. The photograph with Dennis next to some of the records kept in his office can be titled: Walking archive next to sitting archives.

UR emphasizes actively preserving, honoring and carrying forward its past. For example, the ’52 and ’58 team are prominently featured in the lobby of the Robert Goergen Athletic Center. Both teams have been written about extensively.

Dennis offers just some of the history of Fauver and the the ’52 and ’58 teams:

Fauver Stadium has been the home for numerous Section V football playoff games as well as the first games of the Rochester Rhinos soccer team. Area sports fans, however, know it best for the premier tenant: the University’s football team.

new 52

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 11/16/52

The Stadium was dedicated in the name of Dr. Edwin Fauver on October 18, 1930 at halftime of a game between Rochester and Wesleyan (CT) University. Dr. Fauver and his brother, Edgar (of Wesleyan) served their respective universities as directors of physical education.

Rochester is celebrated most for its two unbeaten, untied teams. Both the 1952 and 1958 elevens finished 8-0. Rochester nearly had its first unbeaten team in 1951: the Yellowjackets won their first seven games, but lost the season finale to St. Lawrence in Canton, NY.  The 1952 season began with a 20-7 victory over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Fauver Stadium. Seven weeks later, the Yellowjackets capped it with a 38-0 victory over Allegheny College – also at Fauver.

d & c 52

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 11/16/52

The 1958 squad shut out its first five opponents. The team’s signature win that year came on November 8 at Fauver against Tufts University. Naysayers scoffed at Rochester’s 6-0 start. The Yellowjackets quickly quieted the critics by rolling past Tufts, 46-6. A week later, the 8-0 record was sealed with a 34-7 victory at RPI. Rochester outscored its foes 257-19.

other pic new

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 11/16/52

The coach of both of those teams was Elmer Burnham. In 17 seasons (1944-1960), Burnham led Rochester to a record of 82 wins, 48 losses, and six ties. The 1952 team was honored on Meliora Weekend in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its achievement. In 2008, the 1958 team was feted in the same manner. The 1958 squad, called “…a perfect football machine…” by Burnham was featured in the September 2008 issue of Rochester Review (Rochester Review story on the ’58 team) and then honored on Meliora Weekend that year. The 1952 team was also featured in Ralph Hyman’s ’52 article in the 2002 Meliora Weekend football game program titled A Golden Anniversary for an Unbeaten Season.

football 58

in the lobby of the Robert Goergen Athletic Center

football 52

in the lobby of the Robert Goergen Athletic Center

Set against the backdrop of its historic stadium built during the Hoover Administration, UR fall football games have a special flavor. You can almost imagine those 1950s celebrations on fraternity and sorority rows when the Yellowjackets never lost.

Whether an alum or not, you’ll have rah-rah time. Catch the game during a Meliora Weekend campus visit. The tailgating food for Homecoming and Meliora is lavish. And there might even be some beer: win or lose.


Celebrating 1396 and the University of Rochester’s Persian Club

2016 Rochester Open a smash hit at the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center. And the debut of ZOOM.

Red Ryder, The Stockholm Syndrome and a glimpse inside the University of Rochester Theater Community

Score one for love at Meliora Weekend

Envoyé de mon at Meliora Weekend

Print is not dead yet at the University of Rochester

Talker invited to the University of Rochester to talk about Talker

Celebrating 40 years of BOA editions in the Rush Rhees Friedlander Lobby. And W. D. Snodgrass’ The Führer Bunker

Imaginary languages made real at the University of Rochester

For you, Talker buys the D & C digital archives. And Noam Chomsky

Blessing the Boats and a statue where history was made at Edgerton Park

“What would Dr. Lasagna do?” Abby Glogower displays the thoughts and life of a humanist scientist at the University of Rochester

In search of “Progressive Rock” in the mid-70s at Brighton High School with the University of Rochester’s John Covach

Bringing back the mid 19th Century at the University of Rochester. Nanotechnology meets local history

“Ring out, Wild Bells”

From Daphne with love

Promoting Wellness through softball at the URMC

A personal tour of the URMC during Meliora Weekend with Dr. Ruth Lawrence, URMS ’49. And still on the active faculty.

In search of Julie Andrews at the George Hoyt Whipple Museum

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts