Kenney Center, Jensen Plaza
THE KENNEY CENTER
Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, the Kenney Center offers space for team meetings and social gatherings during the season and throughout the year.
Bright and spacious, the Center's first floor can accommodate the entire varsity team and provides access to the famed Yale Bowl tunnel, which has led generations of Yale football players out onto the field. Heading down to the gridiron, the Bulldogs will now pass underneath a bronze statue of their mascot mounted in the tunnel's entryway – a new tradition born in a place that reveres many. During half-time, the offensive and defensive teams can hold strategy sessions in their own space.
The Cutler Team Room, named to recognize Alexander M. Cutler '73 and Sally Cutler for their generous support of the Yale Football Program, will house these groups meetings on the second floor.
The Kenney Center also features the Champions Room, a new area adjacent to the Bowl's skyboxes with stunning views of the field. In warm weather, its glass wall opens so guests can experience the sights and sounds of the game; closed it provides protection from winter weather. One flight up, a rooftop terrace stretches out behind the press boxes. Here, visitors will enjoy a panoramic view of Yale's athletic fields and Coxe Cage. With access to exceptional facilities and the field, as well as elevators, rest rooms and other areas around the Bowl, the Kenney Center will proudly serve game day events and other University gatherings.
Entering the Kenney Center and Yale Vowl, alumni and fans will pass through the Jensen Plaza. Located at Gate D, the Plaza is composed of granite pavers engraved with the names of every football player, dating back to 1872. Together, these engravings pay homage to Yale's storied football program and the hundreds of young men who devoted themselves to Bulldog glory.
A revered, 95-year-old American sports venue has received a grand entrance fitting its national historic landmark status. The Kenney Center and Jensen Plaza are finished and officially opened in 2009 for the Yale-Brown football game at Yale Bowl and the Class of '54 Field. These two additions, officially dedicated the morning of the Nov. 21 Yale-Harvard game, constitute the final phase of the $30 million restoration of the facility.
Walking in from a tailgate Saturday, fans will catch a glimpse of the grand, three-story Kenney Center as they leave a parking lot. The Kenney Center replaced the old halftime room and rises up and attaches to the press box. As they get closer to the perimeter of the Bowl at the main entrance, fans step onto the granite stones that contain the names of every Yale football letter winner since 1872 as part of the Jensen Plaza.
"One of the most storied programs in the history of college football has added to its lore with the addition of the Kenney Center and the Jensen Plaza," said Tom Williams, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football. "We look forward to adding to the history displayed at both venues."
Athletic Director Tom Beckett added, "This facility and plaza are examples of the strong partnership between the University and our alumni that continues to provide a world-class experience for all affiliated with Yale Athletics."
The Kenney Center contains three team meeting rooms, an alumni area with views to the field and a rooftop terrace that provides a panoramic look at most of the Yale athletic facilities around the Bowl. The Kenney's are the only family to have five members play football at Yale and the only four-brother football combination in school history. Jerome (Jerry) P. '63, Brian R. '61, Robert D. '67 and Richard L. '71 all wore blue and white, while Robert's son, Jeffrey S. '93 also played for the Elis.
Fourteen different historical listings are displayed in the Kenney Center under the following headings:
- Heisman Memorial TrophyWinners
- National Football Foundation-College Hall of Fame Inductees
- Rhodes Scholars
- NCAA Silver Anniversary Award Winners
- National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes
- National Academic All-Americans
- First-Team All-Ivy Selections
- Asa A. Bushnell Cup Winners (Ivy League MVP)
- George "Bulger" Lowe Award Winners (Outstanding Player in New England)
- Ivy League Rookie of the Year Selections
- Yale Football Captains
- National Championship Teams
- Ivy League Championship Teams
"We were encouraged both by the University's decision to restore and modernize the Yale Bowl, which has been such an integral part of Yale's tradition, and also by the widespread support this initiative is receiving from other former players and alumni," said Jerry Kenney. "My three brothers and I collectively played football for 14 consecutive years for Yale and we've had a next generation player as well, so it has been an important part of our family's Yale experience. Since Yale has contributed so much to our lives and careers, we're pleased to be able to fund this center as part of the restoration project."
The Jensen Plaza, named after Irving '54, Colin '57, Erik '63 and Mark Jensen'67, serves as a perfect place for fans to gather before and after games. Two of the Jensen brothers played for former Yale football head coach Jordan Olivar and earned Ivy League Championship rings. Colin, who had two letters, was part of the 1956 Bulldog squad that went 8-1, was undefeated in Ancient Eight play and cruised past Princeton and Harvard on the way to a title. Erik earned three football letters and was a member of Yale's last perfect (9-0) team in 1960.
"We want to share memories with future Yale athletes and thought this would be a great way," said Irving Jensen, who played on the Bulldog freshman squad. "We had a great experience and education at Yale, which has made my life what it is today. Much of what we learned as athletes at the school has been used in our business. It is very important to make the experience a great one for current and future Yale athletes."
For more information on the Kenney Center and Jensen Plaza, please call Tim Ford at (203) 432-1419.