MIDDLETOWN - With nearly 100 people on hand to celebrate, SUNY Orange officially dedicated the renamed Edward A. Diana Physical Education Center on the Middletown campus honoring the former Orange County Executive and 1968 SUNY Orange alumnus with a brief ceremony and sign unveiling.
Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president, and Joan Wolfe, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, oversaw the informal event that also featured remarks by Rich Rowley, chair of the SUNY Orange Foundation, and Diana. Wolfe presented Diana with a framed copy of the resolution approving the center’s new name, which passed unanimously at the Board’s April meeting, along lifetime passes to the building for Diana and his wife Mary.
"This is an unbelievable day, but not for Ed Diana," the guest of honor said as he recounted some of the people who have buildings at the College named after them, including the Morrison and Horton families, William Kaplan, Ben Gilman and Rowley. He cited the efforts to those people and families in establishing College and contributing to its growth throughout the years as much more significant than his contributions to the College. Diana has often credited his successes to his extended family, and he once again indicated that having a building at the College carrying his name was a testament to his entire family.
He referred to his aunt, Mary B. Diana for whom the College’s softball field is named, as a motivating force in his development as a youngster. Mary B. Diana was a physical education instructor, coach and administrator at the College for 28 years.
"People (like Mary B. Diana and others) believed in Orange County Community College and what it stands for. They gave their lives to this place, teaching here 40, 50 years," Ed Diana added. "Thanks to them, generations have benefitted from this College and generations will continue to benefit. I can’t tell you what this means to me. I’m so humbled."
The Edward A. Diana Physical Education Center, an 89,000-square-foot facility built in 1974, features one large gymnasium that can be divided into three smaller gym spaces; an indoor, heated 25-meter swimming pool; weight room; racquetball/handball courts; spinning/cycling room; dance studio; and locker rooms.