The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Alumni Association held its annual dinner on September 17. The event was emceed by Barbara Hammontree Bennett, current association president and 2009 general chairman. Members offer assistance to the Enshrinement Festival in the areas of sponsor recognition, promoting community awareness and support in planning and producing the annual festivities.
The Association was formed in 1993 and has been comprised of general chairmen of the committees under the auspices of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame since the inception of the Enshrinement Festival in 1963.
At the annual dinner, Barbara Hammontree Bennett, presented an Award of Merit to Diebold, Inc. in grateful recognition of their long-time outstanding and generous support of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. She noted that Diebold, Inc. has been an important partner to the Enshrinement Festival since the beginning 51 years ago, including as an annual ticket holder, supporter of the cash sponsorship campaign, and encouraging their employees to volunteer for the Enshrinement Festival. Such continuous support has been critical to the Enshrinement Festival’s success. The award was accepted on behalf of Diebold by Chris Chapman, Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and John Kristoff, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.
A second Award of Merit was presented to Stephen A. Perry, by Thomas W. Schervish, 1986 General Chairman and immediate past president of the Board of Directors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Perry was recognized for his service as the fifth President/Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, serving from 206 through his retirement in early 2014. During his tenure, the Hall realized great success, including the celebration of its 50th anniversary and the completion of a $27 million renovation and expansion project. Steve also served as the 1999 General Chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, and he had an extensive career in management of large private sector and public sector organizations. Most recently, he served in the Federal government as the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington, D.C. Perry was a former member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors (1993-2001) and has been an active volunteer in numerous professional and community organizations.
Another tradition at the annual dinner is the initiation into the association of the most recent General Chairman. The ceremonial green jacket was presented by 2013 general chairman Joe Halter to 2014 general chairman Vicky Sterling, who joins 46 other women and men who have held this prestigious position over the years. She was commended for her extraordinary leadership and dedication to the enhancement and growth of the Enshrinement Festival.
She was especially recognized for her unmatched hands-on role in supporting all of the Enshrinement Festival committees, and was celebrated for her internal theme, “Smile, It’s Contagious – Let’s Start An Epidemic!” In 2015, Sterling will continue to serve the Enshrinement Festival as chairman of the Steering Committee.
ABOUT THE ENSHRINEMENT FESTIVAL
While nearly 25,000 men have played in at least one National Football League game, there are only 287 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; this number will be increased by not more than eight when the Class of 2015 is announced January 31 during Super Bowl weekend. The central focus and highlight of the festivities will be the induction ceremony for the Class of 2015 Enshrinees at Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium.
More than nine million fans have visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame since it first opened its doors on September 7, 1963, and the first Enshrinement Festival events were held that year. In the last 51 years, the Hall has expanded from its original 19,000 square feet to 118,000 square feet following the 2014 conclusion of its $27 million “Future 50” Expansion and Renovation Project. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit educational institution that focuses on education, promoting, preserving, and honoring the great individuals and moments that have shaped the sport’s history, with an emphasis on “Celebrating Excellence Everywhere!”
Likewise, the annual Enshrinement Festival has expanded from its original four small events to 23 diverse events over a two and a half week period, enjoyed by nearly 700,000 people and producing an economic impact of over $32 million for the Canton/Stark County area and nearly $56 million for the State of Ohio. In addition, millions of people experience aspects of the Enshrinement Festival as events are televised and covered by other media. With a record of success for the past 51 years, the Enshrinement Festival has earned its reputation as “A One of a Kind Celebration!”
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