At an hour when most students are still sound asleep, Scott Stuard (Col ’13) is already putting hand to oar in one of his grueling six-days-a-week rowing practices.
Rowing hasn’t always been Scott’s thing. In fact, before walking on to the Virginia Men’s Rowing team in 2009, he had never touched an oar—nor was he a morning person. Now, however, he accepts 5-a.m. wakeup calls without hesitation.
“My life has changed for an extreme better,” the history major said. “I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been, made lifelong friends, received a world-class education, and still have doors opening with every step I take.”
Scott’s parents, Denise and Doug Stuard, also recognized the positive impact of one of U.Va.’s largest club teams, one that considers itself to be the de facto twelfth varsity-men’s sport. That’s one reason they and other parents generously sponsored the team’s travel to England this past summer to compete in the renowned Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames River.
“The team has so enriched our son, as well as the other members, that it is well worthwhile supporting their endeavors,” Denise said, beaming about the team’s semifinal finish in the collegiate-level race, the Temple Challenge Cup, and overall successful season, which was capped by a national championship win in May.
“The Temple Cup enabled us to expand our rowing careers to one of the most prestigious regattas in the world,” Scott said, explaining that rowing has added immeasurable value to his U.Va. experience—teaching him the importance of teamwork, perseverance, self-motivation, time management, endurance, trustworthiness, and humility.
Head Coach Frank Biller agrees rowing for U.Va. carries “huge responsibility”—which is one reason he believes appreciative parents so readily give back.
As Scott and his teammates apply rowing’s many lessons throughout their lives, they will no doubt continue bringing pride to their families and University—whether in a boat on the River Thames or in a classroom in Virginia.