By Elizabeth LaFond Coppez ’03, M’07
Every September for almost 29 years, a large group of Westfield State alumni has gathered for a round of golf. They celebrate friendships, reminisce, and raise money for future students, all in the name of their dear friend Dan Doyle ’83.
Doyle was killed in an auto accident the summer after his commencement, but his memory lives on through the Dan Doyle Memorial Golf Tournament and Scholarship.
Jim McGilloway ’78, Peter Davenport ’80, and Dan Dunn ’78 helped create the tournament, and McGilloway and Davenport ran the event for 25 years. “This event has provided over $100,000 in scholarship money,” says McGilloway.
The tournament takes place every year at the Far Corner Golf Course in Boxford on the first Saturday after Labor Day. This year’s event is Saturday, September 12. “All participants have a connection to Westfield State in some way,” says John Whidden ’86, current event organizer. “Everyone appreciates their time at Westfield State and appreciates the opportunity to give back in Dan’s name.”
The money raised provides scholarships to current students. Kevin Farren ’82, and Dan ’80 and Regina Buckley ’81, help select scholarship award winners every year.
Regina Buckley attended Westfield State with Doyle and also ran on the track and field team. “Coach Gravel was a united force in keeping us, Dan’s friends, together and honoring Dan with this event,” she says. Doyle was a cross-country and track and field athlete. At the time of Doyle’s death, Coach Jerry Gravel solicited ideas from teammates on how to raise money in Doyle’s name.
“Every year we review applications, and it’s amazing what some of these students have accomplished,” she says. “It’s rewarding to give Dan’s scholarship to students and help them with their college journeys.”
“Dan’s family is very appreciative,” Buckley adds. “Dan wasn’t forgotten and is able to affect other peoples’ lives in a positive way.”
The Dan Doyle Golf Tournament and scholarship epitomizes longevity, commitment, endowment, and passion. “Up to 80 people participate each year, and 80 percent are alumni,” Whidden says. “Some alumni play with their sons or daughters, and, for many, it’s the one time of year to see old friends from Westfield State.”
McGilloway says the event has turned into a reunion. Coach Gravel was said to attend all but the 2019 event; he recently passed away. “Coach was a father figure to many of us while at Westfield State, and it was always fun to share old stories and his latest corny joke,” McGilloway says.
Kathi Bradford, director of Alumni Relations, says the Dan Doyle Scholarship represents the very best kind of support for students by alumni. “The efforts made by the scholarship group to hold an annual golf tournament for both revenue and engagement; the many dollars given to students annually; and the commitment to remembering Dan in a consistent, positive way make this a beautiful, successful effort by all involved.”
To reserve your team or individual spot in the September tournament, email firstname.lastname@example.org.