Remembering Greg Kannerstein ’63

Remembering Greg Kannerstein ’63


The late Greg Kannerstein ’63 was honored this week when the Haverford crew team christened its newest boat “Mr. Haverford.”  That’s the nickname the beloved Kannerstein earned over the course of 41 years at the College, where he served as dean of the college, admission director, baseball coach, professor, and more.  The decision to name the 8-person boat for Kannerstein, who was athletics director when the Crew team launched as a club sport in 1998, was an easy one says William Leeser ’15, a captain of the 25-member team, along with Nora Okoth ’16, and Tina Rothschild ’16.  “Greg Kannerstein helped start the team when he was AD,” says Lesser. “He hired Coach Val [Valeria Gospodinov, a member of Bulgaria’s 1988 Olympic rowing team], and he was one of our biggest supporters.” The boat was purchased using funds from a variety of sources, including donations to the team through the Athletics Department, and the proceeds from fund raising efforts and the sale of an old boat.  During the fall and spring seasons, the team, which each year welcomes new members with no rowing experience, practices out of the Villanova University boathouse in Conshohocken, Pa.




Photos by Brad Larrison.


  1. This is lovely … touching and fitting. Thank you for sharing this with friends and family (parent ’04)

  2. This is lovely, touching and fitting. Thank you for sharing this tribute to Mr. Haverford with friends and family (Parent ’04).

  3. Greg was a dear friend–I used to tutor him in French on Friday mornings in his office. I was also on the crew team my freshman year and have fond memories of rowing on the Schuylkill with Coach Valeria. Thank you for sharing this lovely story!

  4. I agree; this is a most fitting tribute. I still miss Greg; when I am on campus I will catch myself looking for him, because he was so omnipresent.

  5. A beautiful tribute, brings tears to my eyes. Greg was my best Haverford supporter, and helped launch my (class of ’73) post-graduation life by finding me international alumni support for my love of film-making and story-telling, enabling my year of independent film study at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris. We saw Greg for the last time at an alumni fund raising event in LA a year or two before he passed away so abruptly, and he was the same warm smiling lovable soul who inspired so many Haverfordians, even to the last days of his life. Greg is Haverford, forever more in my heart.

  6. It’s good to see that the title of “Mr. Haverford” was passed on after Steve Cary’s passing in 2002, and there was no more apt recipient than Greg Kannerstein. It’s symbolic that it was Kannerstein who summarized Cary’s importance to Haverford in the College’s obituary:

    May they both be long remembered for their service to the College, its students, faculty and staff, and may another gifted and dedicated individual emerge to become the new Mr./Ms. Haverford.

  7. A truly touching and fitting tribute to a man who put Haverford students above all else and made such an important difference in the lives of so many people…. I among them.

  8. Thank you for this touching and most appropriate tribute.Greg would have loved it!!

  9. Miss him dearly. So many memories, especially his sense of humor, warm chuckle and smile. Fitting tribute.

  10. In had the honor and privilege of knowing Greg Kannerstein.He was one of the finest human beings I have ever known.His humility and dedication to the students at Haverford his entire adult life will always inspire me to strive to be a better Person in life.He had a great smile and great intellect and a tremendous love for all that Haverford college represents.Gregs life and message accentuated the words of William James:”I am done with great things and big plans,great institutions and big successes.I am for those tiny,invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual; creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets,or like the capillary oozing of water,yet which,if given time,will rend the hardest monuments of human pride”I salute the student athletes of Haverford crew for this touching tribute to Greg.
    Paul keogh

  11. One of my final memories of Greg was when he was Dean in his final years. I was in Stokes Hall with a bunch of other alums at an alumni weekend. After Greg went through the usual impressive credentials of the student body, he astutely asked the question that was going through my mind and I suspect the minds of others: would we be admitted to Haverford if we applied today? His answer was quintessential Greg: witty, insightful, thoughtful, and reassuring. “Haverford made the right decision admitting you before your freshman year and I daresay we would make the same correct decision today.”

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