1984 - 1985

1985 Troupe 2.jpg

Directors: George F. Kramer & Joseph Murray

Assistant Coach: Robert Nelligan

Officer Body

  • President: Carlos Menendez

  • Vice President: Kathy McGuire

  • Secretary: Nancy D'Erasmo

  • Treasurer: David Rudel

  • Historian: Phil Aragon

Award Recipients

  • Best Act:  Ladders - Resi Buell, Terri Gala, Nick Gallagher, Jennifer Girardi, Carlos Menendez, David Rudel, Jody Steinberg, Helen Sydavar, Nanci Weiss, and Kathy McGuire (Choreographer)

  • Best Female Trouper: Mary Jo Rogers

  • Best Male Trouper: Karl Williams

1984-85 Uncertainty

With the loss of its director, Dr. Joseph Murray, the Troupe faced an uncertain future.  Although Dr. George Kramer was at the University, his responsibilities as Acting Dean made it impossible for him to direct the Troupe on a day to day basis.  The troupers set up practices and tried to work as much as possible on their own. Hirschel McGinnis, Troupe President that fall semester, recalls,   

“The support of Dr. Kramer (Acting Dean) and Bob Nelligan (Women’s Gymnastic team coach) were the key to allowing the Troupe to continue during the fall of 1984.  While they weren’t able to be in the gym a lot during practice hours for coaching, they made the facility available to us.

Mentoring had always been an essential element in how skills were passed on year to year.  Frequently, the best performer on an apparatus assumed an unofficial position as the ‘head coach’.  A schedule was made up for group acts and we tried our best to continue...

I remember morale among the troupers being quite low.  Attendance was abysmal some days and there were often no excuses for absences.”

Still there was a desire, of the troupers and others, to keep the Troupe going. Robert Nelligan recalls: 

“I didn't think that it was right to let it die.  At least that kind of a death. I mean if the people in Gymkana were prepared to let it go, then fine, I could let it go. But I knew that they didn't want to do that. Everybody knew that we were going to hang on until Dr. Murray came back. Because we felt that the longer we could hang on, the more chance that he would come back."  

Fortunately that belief turned out to be correct, at least temporarily.  Dr. Murray continues the story.

"Somewhere around November, or so, the Troupe contacted me and wanted to know if I could come back and coach them and direct the Troupe so that they would have another year and have a Home Show.  It was kind of chaotic because people weren't coming to practice or they were coming to practice sporadically and nobody was taking anything seriously.  So I came back in an ex-officio status.  We pulled the group together and we said that we were going to have a successful year."

After quite a bit of work, the Troupe was able to put together everything necessary for a successful show season.  And they were able to have a Home Show.

"Since the founding of Gymkana 39 years ago, this organization has endeavored to stimulate an interest in gymnastics as well as contribute to the development of each member.  The troupe has been an important part of the setting and reaching of innumerable goals in its many years.  Thus it seems fitting that this year's homeshow is entitled "Once Upon a Dream".  In it we examine the world of our daydreams and fantasies."  

- 1985 Home Show Program

With everything having been against the Troupe that year, the 1985 Home Show has to be considered an unqualified success.

One of the most important events of the year, however, took place after the Home Show - the retirement of Dr. George Kramer. Dr. Kramer had been serving as acting dean for the College of Physical Education, Recreation, and Health for several years.  After a new dean, John Burt, was selected, Dr. Kramer announced his retirement. Many Gymkana alumni and troupers were involved in the planning of the party.  

To the surprise of some of the college and University faculty in attendance, hundreds of Gymkana alumni, from across the country, came to the party to express their gratitude and best wishes to Dr. Kramer.  Dr. David A. Field, Troupe founder, spoke at the ceremony.  Dr. Murray was the Master of Ceremonies.  Troupers and alumni performed some of their favorite acts, including dance and balancing. The ceremony finished with Dr. Kramer and Dr. Murray, after about 10 years of the act’s retirement, giving a final performance of their men's doubles routine.

It was a bittersweet night for many, and not just because of Dr. Kramer’s retirement.  For the entire year, Dr. Kramer had been trying to secure a permanent position for Dr. Murray on the college staff, but with his retirement there no longer seemed to be any hope that it would be possible.

For all intents and purposes, it did not look like the University of Maryland Gymkana Troupe would have a fortieth year.


  • Paint Branch Elementary School

  • Stephen Decatur Middle School

  • Stevensville Middle School

  • Queen Anne’s County High School

  • Home Show