Stags reconnect with honorary aquatics alumnus Denny Gambill ’58 at water polo event

Current and former Stags at the 2017 Men's Water Polo Alumni Game
Current and former Stags at the 2017 Men's Water Polo Alumni Game

Being a Stag water polo player means being part of tight-knit group of former players, coaches, and supporters of CMS aquatics. Each fall, CMS men's water polo alumni and the current team gather to play a friendly match, meet fellow alumni, and recount stories from their playing days.

This year, 22 former Stag water polo players returned for the annual event, and they were joined by a special visitor, long-time supporter and honorary Stag alumnus Denman "Denny" P. Gambill '58.

"It was fun for me," Gambill said. "I enjoyed having the opportunity to reconnect with alumni of all ages, and hear what they are up to."

Gambill served as the Dean of Financial Aid for CMC and Harvey Mudd colleges during the early years, when CMC and HMC shared an Admission/Financial Aid office. In the early 1970's, Stag swimmer Scott Lichtig '75 invited Gambill to a meet, and his friendship with aquatics began.  

"He was always a great ambassador for our aquatics program with CMS parents and alumni," former Stag aquatics head coach and CMS Athletic Director Mike Sutton '76 said. "Several of us who attended this year's event were initially impacted by Denny through his genuine concern for all students with need and his ability to 'find a way' to help us afford a CMC education. We had a picnic lunch with him before the alumni game and enjoyed many memories, laughs, and toasted his contribution to our long-time relationships."

The Gambills lived near campus and would often attend meets and matches, and invite the Stags over for dinners at their home. Sometimes they hosted 70 or 80 for dinner, Gambill said. He volunteered to be  head timer for the SCIAC Swim Championships in the 1980s and continued in that role for over 20 years.

"Our appreciation for his support has grown over the years as we have raised our families, reflected on our experiences, and gathered at alumni events to reconnect," Sutton said. "For many years, Denny has been a part of the alumni gathering. We [water polo alumni] were glad we could be together and were thankful for the opportunity to express our gratitude to Denny and each other."

Gambill also enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect.

"Hearing the guys talk about what I meant to them was special," Gambill said. "I was just doing my job, yet they were very appreciative."