On 18 April 2014, a vital member of our team passed away suddenly. Senior Robert “Bob” Ericson, an environmental science major, was a captain of the men’s team and an avid member of one of UMW’s best acapella groups, The One Note Stand. Not only was Bob a strong leader of the rowing team and acapella group, but was very involved on campus, participating in fundraisers such as Relay for Life and other events hosted by the student government.
Shortly after his death, Bob’s parents and three brothers created the Robert “Bob” Ericson Environmental Research Endowment through UMW. This Endowment provides investments towards environmental research through the university.
Even after his passing, he still remains a very important part of UMW Rowing. A year after his death, our team and The One Note Stand worked together to hold a Bob Ericson Memorial 5K on campus. Participants had the option of running or erging a 5K in his memory. We will always remember how much he meant to the team and how much the team and UMW meant to him.
The Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference, or MARC’s is one of UMW Rowing’s most important regattas, which takes place at the conclusion of the spring semester, in York, Pennsylvania. UMW Rowing is a founding member of the MARCs regatta. When we competed at MARC’s a year after Bob’s passing, the conference presented the Ericson Memorial Cup during the awards ceremony. The cup will continue to be awarded to the Mid-Atlantic Division III Men’s Varsity 8 Champion, in memory of men’s team member and captain Bob Ericson. It is very important to the team that we both compete in this regatta as well as honor our teammate.
In October 2016, UMW Rowing christened their Wintech Medalist heavyweight men’s eight rowing shell in honor of Robert Ericson. The name “Robert Ericson” is carried on the bow of the boat, with the christening honors being performed by his family. Small placards placed inside the hull bear the words “Live like Bob” as a reminder to all who row in the boat to truly live life to the fullest, just as Bob did.