100-Year Old Swain a Gopher Treasure

BleedGopher

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per Shama:

Tom Swain owns eight season tickets for University of Minnesota home football games. That might prompt a yawn, but here is the rest of the story: he or his family have owned season tickets every year except one since 1921.

“The year of my birth,” Swain told Sports Headliners.

This is birthday celebration week for the U grad, class of 1942 with a business and accounting degree. He celebrated his 100th birthday with family on Sunday. The U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs will host a celebration Wednesday afternoon at the McNamara Alumni Center, and admirers will pay tribute to their friend whose professional career has crisscrossed the private and public sectors including the state’s flagship university. On Saturday he will be recognized for his milestone birthday, military service and dedication to climate change before the Minnesota Twins game at Target Field.

What does 100 feel like? Swain lives independently in a Lilydale care facility. He has spinal stenosis and uses a walker. He has peripheral neuropathy and difficulty with his larynx. But he is an articulate, active, humble and grateful centenarian.

“There are such few people that get there (to 100), I feel very gratified,” Swain said. “I am very fortunate to have made it this far because growing old is a privilege denied to many. I am not sure why I deserve to get to 100 but I am very grateful.”

Swain loved Gophers football as a young man. While he was a student at the U, coach Bernie Bierman’s powerhouse teams won national titles in 1940 and 1941. Swain got to know the players, who were his peers at the U. His life changed, though, when he joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1946 his military commitment ended and he was unsure of the path ahead.

Turned out his connections to the U Athletic Department opened a door for him. Athletic director Frank McCormick had heard complaints from football players that they needed assistance with school work. Swain became the first academic advisor for athletics at Minnesota. “It was my job to get them in school and get keep them eligible,” he recalled. “Now they got an army (of advisors) doing that.”

During his professional career Swain had 16 salaried positions. And with self-deprecation he said, “I had a lot of jobs, I couldn’t hold them.”

At age 75 he became an interim vice president at the U. Then at 83 he came back to campus with the same title, specializing in communications and government affairs. He’s been an advisor to presidents and athletics directors including Joel Maturi.

As a volunteer member of the athletics advisory board, Swain impressed Maturi. “Tom wasn’t afraid to speak his mind,” Maturi said Sunday. “He always did it respectfully but if he didn’t agree with you he said so. I’ve always respected that and admired that.”


Go Gophers!!
 



Taji34

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How many gopher points is that worth?
 



Word

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Wonder if he uses mobile tickets?
 

BilldGopher

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Honorary paper tix are available if he needs them.
 


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Shama wrote something I enjoyed.

Ski-U-Mah Mr. Swain!
RTB
 




BroncoRedux

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Joe to Tom: "I'm hiring Tim Brewster". Tom to Joe: "This is not going to end well".
 





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