Opening Luncheon Launches 2017 U.S. Open

Back row, l-r: Drexel University President John Fry, Karim Abdel Gawad, Nick Matthew, Ali Farag, James Willstrop. Front row, l-r: US Squash President & CEO Kevin Klipstein, Olivia Blatchford, Emily Whitlock, Nour El Tayeb, Nour El Sherbini, Camille Serme, US Squash Board Chair Mark Pagan. (image: Justin Willett)

The 2017 United States Open Squash Championships officially got underway yesterday in Philadelphia.

Ten days of awards, speeches, contests, ceremonies, clinics and, of course, professional squash matches started with a special opening reception luncheon. It was held in the second-story, light-filled banquet salon at The Study at University City, the official hotel of the U.S. Open.

Among the more than a hundred people in attendance were U.S. Open sponsors; Drexel University trustees, president’s cabinet and athletic department staff; US Squash board members and staffers; SquashSmarts board members and staffers; and many friends of the tournament.

In addition, a group of men and women who are playing in this year’s tournament came, including Olivia Blatchford, Nour El Sherbini, Nour El Tayeb, Ali Farag, Karim Abdel Gawad, Nick Matthew, Amanda Sobhy, Camille Serme, Emily Whitlock and James Willstrop.

During a delicious meal, Kevin Klipstein, US Squash President & CEO, welcomed everyone to the seventh consecutive U.S. Open to be held at Drexel. Mark Pagon, the chair of the board of US Squash, spoke about the amazing partnership between US Squash and Drexel. David Brenner, the chief administrative officer at Macquarie Investmenets Management, Americas, spoke about the enduring relationship Macquarie has had with the tournament, this being the seventh year of sponsorship.

John Fry, the president of Drexel, gave a warmly received keynote address. Fry spokeabout the present state of squash in America and the essential role that US Squash, the U.S. Open and Drexel are playing in developing the game.

The United States Open was founded in 1954. Since 2011 Drexel has hosted it at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.