Beekman Park: A lasting memorial

January 8, 2011

Fred Beekman took time to relax in the sun at his namesake park on Ohio State's west campus.

Fred Beekman, who passed away February 26 at the age of 89, enjoyed spending time at the 43-acre park that bears his name on Ohio State’s west campus. A popular spot for outdoor recreation, the park welcomes more than 9,500 university students to participate in nearly 2,200 intramural contests each year. It’s also the host site of the annual Ohio Special Olympics summer games and home to Ohio State’s rugby and baseball clubs.

Fred was always pleased with the activity taking place at the park, and that so many people have enjoyed spending their leisure time there. After all, the multipurpose recreational sports mecca, located at the corner of Lane Avenue and Kenny Road, was named in his honor.

To understand why he was so deserving, it’s necessary to go back to the beginning of Fred’s relationship with Ohio State. In 1938, he arrived on campus as a freshman and avid athlete. He graduated in 1942, then spent five years completing a tour of duty in the military. Afterward, he returned to Ohio State and earned a master’s degree in physical education in 1948.

From that point forward, Fred dedicated his career to developing a recreational and intramural sports program at Ohio State. He joined the intramurals program after graduation and retired as director of recreational sports in 1994. Most students participating in intramurals and recreational sports from 1948 to 1994 had interactions with Fred.

Fred also was involved in 372 home football games over 60 consecutive seasons, serving as a member of the timing crew. That stint began in 1949 and ended when Fred finally stepped down at the end of the 2008 season.

Fred earned praise for overseeing the launch of women’s intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State during the early 1960s, before the NCAA sponsored women’s sports.

All told, Fred’s accomplishments earned him a University Distinguished Service Award in 1999.

Fred also received recognition from the President’s Club for his annual leadership gifts. His generous donations helped to establish the Fred Beekman Endowed Fund, which provides support for the park. President's Club donors make a lasting impact in the lives of students, researchers, faculty, and staff every day.

A long-time advocate for students, Fred continued to share his experiences in recreational sports with them when he can. He occasionally visited his office in the Recreational and Physical Activity Center and served as a guest speaker for a sports leadership class.

To support students or other areas of Ohio State in honor of Fred, visit the university's online giving site. Learn more about Fred Beekman Park and recreational sports at Ohio State.