Donald "Don" Rubell Acceptance Speech, 2022 ITA Awards Dinner

TEMPE, AZ. – On a night when many of the brightest dignitaries from the college tennis community were honored, Donald “Don” Rubell, alumnus of Cornell University’s Class of 1961, and New York University’s School of Medicine Class of 1968, received the highest honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (“ITA”) as he took home the 2022 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award, which is endowed by tennis legend, Stan Smith, and his wife, Margie.

Hosted at the Yale Club in New York, the 2022 ITA Leadership Awards Weekend honored over 20 individuals, in addition to Rubell, during the Leadership Awards Dinner presented with the support of ITA partners US Sports Camps and Rolex Watch U.S.A. 

Rubell received the 2022 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award from Smith, along with ITA Chairman Emeritus, David A Benjamin, ITA Chairman of the Board, Jon Vegosen, and ITA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Timothy Russell. He was presented with the Achievement Award plaque at the dinner, as well as a specially designed ITA gift. Rubell and his wife Mera were invited to watch the opening session of the 2022 US Open, courtesy of Rolex. 

Vegosen said, “Don Rubell’s achievements on and off the court, along with his humility, are inspiring. They set a shining example not only for the deserving college tennis student-athletes recognized at the Leadership Awards Dinner, but also for all student-athletes.” 

Now in its 28th year, the ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award pays tribute to past participants in the world of varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The spirit of the award honors both professional success and contributions to society made either as a direct result of a career or through humanitarian efforts.

Rubell joins a decorated list of past recipients, with previous honorees including, among others, US Senators, generals, business leaders, doctors, and judges.

“The lessons learned on the tennis court during the college years are a vital companion to the academic lessons of higher education,” noted ITA Chairman Emeritus, David A Benjamin. “The winners of the ITA Achievement Award are extraordinary individuals who benefited from the experience of intercollegiate competition, went on to outstanding accomplishments, and have made significant contributions to their communities. Don Rubell, our 2022 ITA Achievement Award Laureate, is a wonderful embodiment of this award.”

Beginning his journey as a college tennis player at Cornell, Rubell was a team captain for the varsity tennis team. There he leaned on his teammates who became his family away from home. They rooted for one another’s success, and Rubell learned that a team is instrumental in helping an individual achieve his or her ambitions.

Going on to achieve a Doctorate of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, Rubell would spend his first 30 years out of school as an OB/GYN in New York City where he delivered over 5,000 babies during his career. 

In the midst of all his work and day-to-day challenges Rubell faced during his 30-year career as an OB/GYN, he and his wife Mera have always made time to explore their passion for the arts. Beginning by setting aside $25 per week to explore and support local artists around their New York neighborhood, passion quickly turned into one of the most sought-after art collections in the United States with hundreds of thousands of visitors walking the halls of their museum each year. 

The Rubells’ collection is now housed in an 100,000 square-foot home in Miami, Florida. Their passion for the arts has resulted in being honored with numerous awards from various organizations and outlets across the country. 

“Undoubtedly, the greatest achievement of my life has been my family,” stated Rubell. “Everything we do, we do as a team. Tennis, especially at Cornell, was the single most important inspiration for so much that I have done in my life. Tennis is an isolated sport, but team tennis is what really teaches you about life.” 

- Advertisement -
College Tennis Alumni Network


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here