2013 marks the 90th anniversary of one of the oldest clubs in University of Maryland history and one of the oldest athletic letter-winners organizations in the United States. Dr. Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, Dr. William B. Kemp, George F. Pollock, H. Burton Shipley, Geary F. Eppley, Reginald V. Truitt, Burton Ford, and William G. Morris founded the M Club in April 1923 to focus on the role athletics played in the life of the campus and the development of the individual. With Byrd as president of the club and Kemp as chairman, the rest of the founding committee consisted of representatives of the six varsity sports on the campus at the time. The M Club originally consisted of current letter-winning student- athletes who promoted amateurism and fair play, hosted officials and guests at sporting events, and stressed appropriate spectator conduct. The Club held an annual banquet (see the program from the second banquet in 1924 here: M Club Banquet Program), and membership fees were originally set at $1.00 per year.
In recent history, the goals of the University of Maryland M Club have shifted. The club now focuses on alumni and emphasizes getting former Maryland athletes involved in and giving back to the Maryland athletic program of which they were once a part. M Club members are encouraged to promote both academic and athletic success for varsity teams, cultivate social contact and good sportsmanship among athletes, aid student athletes in making contributions to the school and community, generate funds for scholarships, awards and other programs, and, of course, publicize the proud tradition of Maryland sports. Through the M Club, former athletes are able to ensure that Maryland sports will always have a bright future. The M Club is very active and works to support 19 varsity teams on campus.
The organization was also a major supporter of the University Archives’ initiative to digitize the Terrapins’ historical football film from 1946 to 1989. The M Club, along with the Maryland Gridiron Network and the Terrapin Club, provided the seed money to get this project off the ground in2010. Reels of film digitized to date can be viewed in University AlbUM.
The M Club was also responsible for forming the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982. The Athletic Hall of Fame honors those student athletes, coaches, and administrators who have excelled in representing the values of the University of Maryland athletic program. Inductees are honored and initiated into the Athletic Hall of Fame as a part of the club’s annual banquet. Some legendary members of the Athletic Hall of Fame include Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, Geary Eppley, Jack Scarbath, Tom McMillen, Randy White, Gary Williams, Boomer Esiason and Juan Dixon. A complete list of members can be found here: Athletic Hall of Fame members.
The M Club will hold their 90th anniversary celebration this fall.
You can read more about the M Club at their website: http://www.themclub.org/