At this year's Homecoming and Family Day, the school dedicated the Booster Lodge to Dick Emmitt P '02 in recognition of his years of service to Gill St. Bernard's, and most especially to the school's athletics program.
Beginning in the early 2000s, Emmitt was a key figure in the transformation of Gill's athletics program. At that time, he approached Head of School Sid Rowell about starting an Athletic Booster Club to support all of the school's teams. Recognizing that an athletic fund-raising organization could be seen as competing with the school's development efforts, Emmitt and his wife Judy pledged to increase their annual fund gift for three years, giving an amount that matched any donations received by the Booster Club. He also agreed to serve as president of the Booster Club, a position he held until last spring. On the occasion of Emmitt's retirement from the Boosters, Rowell offered "Few people have had such a powerful and lasting impact on Gill St. Bernard’s School, and in particular on athletics. He really was an incredible catalyst for a number of things that took place at the school."
In his role as president of the Boosters, Emmitt communicated that the club had three goals: to help the athletics program at all levels, providing the best experience for all students; to raise spirit among the students and the school community and to support the larger mission of Gill St. Bernard’s. For the last of those, he proposed that the club make a significant gift to the school’s endowment each year. In addition, he personally made a substantial contribution to endow need-based financial aid (a fund from which students continue to benefit) and he also made contributions to ensure that the Booster Club could begin on a solid financial footing. When reflecting on the work with the Boosters, Emmitt said, "My vision was never to turn Gill into a sports academy, but I wanted kids to have the opportunities to be as good as they could be in athletics."
In addition to founding the Boosters, Emmitt was instrumental in the school's decision to join the state athletic association, NJSIAA. With membership in the NJSIAA, GSB teams could compete in state championships and the school’s athletes and teams would be covered by regional newspapers.
Due in large part to Emmitt’s vision, 2004 marked a great year in Gill athletics. It was the school’s first full year in the NJSIAA, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Booster Club and the long-awaited Athletic Center officially opened on campus.
Over the years, the Booster Club has provided fitness equipment, scoreboards, support for fields and buildings, buses for championship events among dozens of other things.
In 2012, Emmitt received the school's prestigious Lindabury-Thomas Award, given each year to a past trustee or honorary trustee who through his/her service has made an outstanding contribution to Gill St. Bernard's. He remains an honorary trustee today.