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February 18, 2010

A Championship Tribute at Arthur Curry Scholarship Reception

HBO Sports Commentator Jim Lampley and Legendary Boxing Champion Roy Jones, Jr. Share Their Memories

Legendary boxing champion Roy Jones, Jr. led several hundred St. Francis College students and friends of Arthur Curry in singing Happy Birthday on February 18 in the St. Francis Genovesi Center on what would have been Curry’s 50th birthday. Jones, Jr., HBO Sports Commentator Jim Lampley, Curry’s mother Lise and others from the boxing community all came to St. Francis for the formal announcement that the Arthur Curry Scholarship Program has been established. (Watch the whole event)

“He was my security blanket,” said Lampley who emceed the event and who worked with Artie for years covering boxing for HBO Sports. “Artie sat behind me at the fights. It meant so much to me to be able to turn the moment before the opening bell and see him in his chair and know that he was there for us. He was a key link to the world that I cover. He was a key link to me and my well-being and he’s greatly missed.” (Watch the full Lampley interview)

After a disadvantaged childhood that saw him shuttled from foster home to foster home, Curry found stability and hope under the guidance of Edward and Lise Curry, who took him into their home at age seventeen and later adopted him. His years at HBO began in the mail room at Time-Life (then HBO’s parent company). Over the course of three decades, he worked his way up the corporate ladder and became one of the most-respected and universally loved people in boxing.

“He was the liaison between a lot of people on different planes of the planet. He could bring the fighter and the CEO together to make it make sense for everybody. That’s the type of people that this world needs more of,” said Jones, Jr. “You don’t find a better person. He was like a living angle. Anything that went on he knew how to fix it or he could help you come to a solution to fix it.” (Watch the full Jones, Jr. interview)

In addition to sharing his memories of Curry, Jones, Jr. also spent time with students signing autographs and even gave one student, an amateur fighter, an impromptu boxing lesson.

“The scholarship program will bond Arthur Curry’s legacy in perpetuity with the St. Francis community and ensure that his good works did not end with his death,” said St. Francis Chancellor Frank J. Macchiarola ’62. “His memory is alive in the people who will bear his name with his scholarship.”

As an added surprise, the recipient of the first Arthur Curry Scholarship was announced during the luncheon. Venecia Hoyte, a junior Health Promotions major from Brooklyn and sprinter on the Track & Field Team, was asked to help present a plaque and flowers to Arthur’s mother Lise. Venecia’s parents snuck into the room during the presentation and College President Brendan J. Dugan ’68 announced that Venecia was going to be the first Arthur Curry Scholar.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg also honored Curry with a written proclamation, calling the event, “an important opportunity to pay tribute to this great New Yorker. Arthur Curry’s winning personality and spirit helped him to overcome a challenging childhood and become a luminary in the world of professional boxing.” (Read the whole proclamation)

Other speakers at the celebration included Curry’s best friend, Isaac “Frisco” Daniel, Curt Viebranz, who first identified Curry’s potential and set him on his career path, Seth Abraham, who ran HBO Sports for years and whose nickname for Curry was “Young Reliable” and long-time friend and co-worker Jon Crystal, a producer who met Curry as a 20 year old intern on his first day of work at HBO almost 20 years ago.

“Today is an important marker on a journey to fulfill a vow we made that Artie will be remembered and that his good works will continue after his death,” said author Thomas Hauser, a close friend of Curry’s and the driving force behind the scholarship and celebration.

The Arthur Curry Scholarship Program has been funded with the generous support of HBO and Artie’s many friends.

Attached Photos: (From L-R: Seth Abraham (HBO Sports), Thomas Hauser, Brendan J. Dugan, Roy Jones, Jr., Jim Lampley, Irma Garcia)
(Brendan J. Dugan, Darren Hoyte, Lise Curry, Virginia Hoyte, Venecia Hoyte)

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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