Friday, July 17, 2015

Ogazón Family Fronton Gives STU Community Opportunity to Learn and Play Racquet Sports

The Ogazón Family Fronton, located on the first floor of the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness, is the latest addition to the plethora of athletics and fitness facilities at St. Thomas University.  The Ogazón Family Fronton, dedicated on June 11 in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony, comes thanks to a generous gift by the Ogazón family who has a long history with St. Thomas University and racquet sports.

The Ogazón Family Fronton comes as a result of a brainstorm by Dr. Craig Resse, Dr. Lloyd Mitchell and Dr. Edwin Abernethy of the St. Thomas University School of Business.  The three professors were searching for a way to make a Fronton a reality utilizing an existing space at the Fernandez Family Center.  Upon learning of the idea, Dr. Agatha Ogazón, a longtime professor also at STU’s School of Business, generously stepped forward with the initial gift for the Fronton.

Dr. Agatha Ogazón and her husband, the late Dr. Tomas Ogazón were both professors at St. Thomas University for decades, having come to Miami from St. Thomas at Villanova in Havana, Cuba.  The Ogazón family wanted to give back to St. Thomas University with a lasting contribution toward an entity that will be used for years to come. The prospect of contributing toward a facility where racquet sports could be played was especially exciting to Dr. Agatha Ogazón who was taught the game of squash as a child in Cuba and continued playing the sport throughout her youth.

An additional gift came from Dr. Reese along with a grant from the United States Squash Association to complete the project which Dr. Abernethy worked diligently on to ensure certification as an USSA sanctioned facility.

The front and side walls of the existing room were replaced with heavy wood paneling while a high-impact glass wall was erected with a special entry door to create a smooth playing surface.  A small gallery was also created behind the glass back wall for spectators and those waiting to play to gather.

The decision was also made to use the name “Fronton” for the facility which is what squash and racquet ball courts are referred to in Cuba and throughout Latin America.

The Ogazón Family Fronton was sanctioned by the United States Squash Association making it the nation’s first newly constructed sanctioned facility this year.  The Fronton, which also meets specifications for international racquetball, is one of only three sanctioned courts in Miami-Dade County.

Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to play sports such as squash, racquetball, handball, and badminton at the Ogazón Fronton.  Equipment to play the various racquet sports is available for check-out at the front desk of the Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness.  Moreover, an Indoor Racquet Sports class taught by Dr. Abernethy was launched last Spring as a new course offering for undergraduate students.

For more information or to play racquet sports in the newly opened Ogazón Family Fronton, please visit the front desk of the Fernandez Family Center.



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