OSWEGO — A group of SUNY Oswego alumni have established a memorial fund in memory of P. Kevin Gilman of Oswego, a 1974 graduate of the college, who passed away Dec. 17 at age 58.
To honor Gilman’s legacy to SUNY Oswego, its rugby program and the community of Oswego, the fund will have a two-fold purpose. It will support a scholarship for an Oswego High School student in financial need with plans to attend SUNY Oswego. Each year a portion of the fund will be dispersed to the Oswego men’s rugby club to help support travel to post-season tournaments and other administrative needs.
“Kevin and his wife, Irene, made generosity and concern for others the hallmarks of their involvement in the greater Oswego community, where they supported many local organizations,” said three SUNY Oswego rugby alumni, Jim Harding, Rick Scanlon and George W. Wurtz, who together spearheaded the fundraising drive for the scholarship. “They are both very much about giving back — very aware of giving back to and guiding the younger generation.”
To date, Gilman’s friends have raised $10,000 toward their goal of $25,000 for the P. Kevin Gilman ’74 Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations to the fund can be made online at www.oswego.edu/givenow or by sending a check to the Oswego College Foundation, 219 Sheldon Hall, Oswego, NY 13126.
Gilman may be gone, but his friends cherish the memory of the man they knew as “Gilly.”
“His mark is indelible; he left this world a better place for being in it and we are glad for having known him,” Scanlon said.
“Kevin was a teacher both in life and rugby, a mentor, a jokester, an eternal optimist. He never quit on anything or anybody; he loved the underdog, always had another idea or a way to reconcile differences and one of the most positive people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet and call a dear friend,” Wurtz added.
“Kevin was a natural leader and made friends wherever he went. . . . He always had encouraging words,” Harding said.
Gilman was an active participant in the life of the Oswego community and was involved in many civic and service organizations. A very active member of both the YMCA and Harborfest, he served on committees of the American Red Cross and Chamber of Commerce. For many years, he coached youth soccer.
He began his career on the rugby pitch in the early 1970s and continued to be involved with Oswego Rugby for almost four decades. During the ’70s and early ’80s, Gilman actively played and coached, and refereed both men’s and women’s Oswego Rugby matches. Even as he devoted time to his professional career as a financial planner for Northwestern Mutual Life, he attended home games as a fan.
Gilman was also a core member of the group of Oswego rugby alumni (now known as the WildOATS: Oswego Alumni Touring Side) that began a tradition in 1974 of Oswego Rugby participation in the CanAm Rugby tournament held in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid every August.
More recently, Gilman became involved with the current college rugby team as one of the co-coaches and helped lead the 2009 spring side to a second-place finish in the National Small College Rugby Organization Division III Men’s National Championship.