Dempsey’s Estate Gift to support 1958 Lambert Cup Team Football Endowed Scholarship
Dempsey graduated from UB in 1960 and began teaching in the Niagara Falls schools shortly after. An educator, coach, mentor and friend, his life's accomplishments were celebrated during a memorial service at UB in October after his passing.
Dempsey was a member of the celebrated 1958 Lambert Cup Football Team that was invited to play in the Tangerine Bowl – the school's first bowl game invitation. However, the team was informed that the site of the bowl game had a strict rule that blacks and whites could not play on the same field at the same time. This would mean that Willie Evans and Mike Wilson, both African-American and two of the team's best players, would not be able to play in the game. Following a meeting, Dempsey and his teammates decided that if Evans and Wilson couldn't play in the game, no one on the team would participate. Thus, turning down the bid to play in the Tangerine Bowl.
The Eden, NY native was instrumental in establishing the 1958 Lambert Cup Team Football Scholarship, given each year to a football student-athlete who exemplifies the ideals of the 1958 team.
"I believe that all of the 1958 team members would agree that nobody worked harder than Jack to keep his Lambert Cup teammates together over the past 53 years," 1958 teammate Fred Kogut said. "His generous charitable gift to the 1958 UB Lambert Cup Team Scholarship Fund is a clear statement of his love for his teammates, UB and the game of football. Through his gift, Jack ensures the team will live on in perpetuity in the hope and expectation that future players and teams will carry on the team's noteworthy legacy - teammate loyalty in the face of injustice."
A loyal and active alumnus of UB, Dempsey was a long-time football season ticket holder and philanthropic supporter.
"Jack will always be a special part of the UB Athletics Family. I'm honored to have known the Bear," Interim Athletic Director John Lambert said. "This legacy gift will forever connect him to our Athletics program and will be instrumental in providing scholarships for deserving football student-athletes."
John Syty earned the inaugural 1958 Lambert Cup Team Football Endowed Scholarship in 2011. This year's recipient will be named at the UB Academic Celebration on May 1, 2012.