Yale dedicates new Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center

(From left to right) Athletics Director Thomas A. Beckett, Samuel J. Heyman ’60, Lewis B. Cullman ’41, President Richard C. Levin, Edgar Cullman, Sr. ’40, and Ronnie Heyman cut the ribbon to formally open the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

On November 1, 2008, Yale University officially dedicated the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center as the new home for varsity tennis. Welcoming more than 200 guests, the event celebrated the generosity of lead benefactors Joseph F. Cullman 3rd ’35 (1912–2004) and Samuel J. Heyman ’60 as well as team room donor Joseph C. McNay ’56 and lobby donor Laurence C. Leeds ’50.

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center opened this fall as one of the finest indoor tennis facilities in the Ivy League following one year of construction. Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLP, the new building features eight courts, including the four renovated Cullman Courts, and exceptional accommodations for men’s and women’s tennis. Visitors and spectators are greeted by the center’s bright and spacious lobby, and a new viewing area offers clear sight lines to the on-court action.

Recognizing a community of support for Yale tennis

Guests at the dedication, including alumni, family, and friends, were welcomed into a lobby adorned with images that mark the 120-year history of tennis at Yale. Trophy cases highlighted the accomplishments of the championship program, and donor plaques recognized the many supporters who helped fund the building’s construction. 

Athletics Director Thomas A. Beckett opened the formal program and individually acknowledged each of the donors who named the facility, lobby, team room, and all eight courts. Further speakers included Larry Leeds, whose gift honors the memory of his late son Laurence C. (Cary) Leeds III ’79, President Richard C. Levin, Edgar Cullman, Sr. ’40, who spoke on behalf of his family, and Samuel Heyman.

Cullman and Heyman inaugurate new courts to robust applause

Following the official dedication, guests were treated to an inaugural volley between Edgar Cullman, Sam Heyman, and men’s and women’s varsity team captains Jeff Dawson ’09 and Lilian Nguyen ’09. After brunch, many made their way to Yale Bowl and watched the Bulldogs defeat Columbia in a 27-12 win.

Leadership donors Joseph Cullman and Samuel Heyman have each contributed generously to Yale University and to Yale tennis. Cullman, who passed away in 2004, was a member of Yale’s tennis and squash team’s and led Philip Morris, Inc. for twenty-five years, serving as chair and chief executive officer. Heyman, also a former Bulldog tennis player, is the current chair and former chief executive officer of GAF Corporation, one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies and a manufacturer of building materials and specialty chemical products.

(November 25, 2008)

November 25, 2008