Captain Peter J. Gaskin, USN (Ret), C’66, WG’74 and Mimsie Gaskin have graciously made a gift to Penn Lightweight Rowing, which establishes the Lightweight Rowing Shell Endowed Fund. The Gaskins’ generosity will allow a boat, named “USS ENGLAND [CG 22],” to exist in perpetuity in the Madeira Shell House. The cruiser ENGLAND was named for Ensign J.C. England USNR who died in a heroic rescue attempt on the battleship OKLAHOMA [BB 37] during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“Equipment plays a huge role in our success in terms of having the fastest boats available and attracting the best talent to come to Penn,” commented Men’s Lightweight Rowing Head Coach Colin Farrell. “With this kind donation, our program just rose to a higher echelon.”
“In order for our programs to thrive, we rely on the philanthropic giving of our dedicated alumni base,” remarked Dr. M. Grace Calhoun, University of Pennsylvania’s Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics. “Peter and Mimsie Gaskin’s thoughtfulness will provide our lightweight rowers an unbelievable student-athlete experience. We thank them for their extremely generous support.”
Gaskin, who participated in the NROTC program at Penn, was an excellent member of the Penn Lightweight Rowing team in the mid-‘60s. As a student, he majored in American Civilization and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. In a 30 plus year Navy career, he served in ten surface ships and survived two wars – Vietnam and Desert Storm. He was awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat “V”, and commanded two ships of the line – the Frigate MEYERKORD [FF 1058] and the Guided Missile Cruiser ENGLAND [CG 22]. His last tour of duty was as the Commodore of the Military Sealift Command [MSC], Far East in Yokohama, Japan.
“Four years of Lightweight Rowing at Penn taught me multitudes,” stated Gaskin. “Two stand out. First was the importance of physical endurance. Second was the need for teamwork in any endeavor. Both proved essential in both my naval and civilian careers. In the 50 years since graduation, I learned that opportunities to give back were limited. This Lightweight Rowing Shell Endowment Fund is our opportunity to give back for all that Penn Lightweight Crew gave me.”
Gaskin is now retired, and both he and Mimsie reside in southern California. A dedication ceremony for the USS ENGLAND [CG 22] will take place during the spring season.