“We are truly grateful to Mr. Worth for his generous gift to create the SMA Worth Field, which will stand as a beacon on campus and bring our community together in the spirit of athleticism, honor and discipline, and overall health and wellness,” said President Pamela R. Fox. “We celebrate how Mr. Worth shares in our vision to both honor proud legacies and chart a dynamic future on behalf of our students.”
As the founder and chairman/CEO of American Benefits Consulting, Worth has more than 40 years of experience in insurance and benefits, helping some of the world’s largest companies provide cost effective, leading-edge benefit programs and working with the industry’s leading carriers to design new insurance products.
“I am very pleased and fortunate to be able to do this, and it is very meaningful to me,” said Worth. “I had my first total education at Staunton Military Academy, and it was where I grew up. I am very appreciative of Mary Baldwin coming in and joining with SMA to continue our traditions through the cadet corps. With this gift, I want to honor and preserve what it meant to attend SMA.”
A New York City native, Worth received the rank of second lieutenant at SMA, graduating in 1957. He was also on the junior varsity football and basketball teams and the varsity baseball team while at the academy.
“The intellectual capabilities of students are of course important, but so too are physical activity, a healthy environment, and finding a good balance,” said Worth. “I remember running around that field’s track when I was 13 years old, wondering why my lungs hurt. Fortunately, as I got bigger, the track got smaller.”
Work began last spring to build MBU’s first collegiate, regulation-size soccer field, planted with Northbridge Bermuda grass. A recreational track will also surround the field with fitness lanes for all students to enjoy.
“In the age of artificial turf, the installation of this caliber of grass will make it one of the nicest fields in North America, let alone NCAA Division III,” said Jonas Worth, athletic director.
The grass puts MBU in a class with the new Audi Field, home to the closest Major League Soccer franchise, D.C. United, Jonas Worth said. Though the planting is more difficult to maintain, research has shown that playing on a natural grass surface is better for athlete health long-term, helping players avoid knee injuries and concussions.