Field of Dreams

The Yinglings on the field named after John
John and Sharon Yingling

John Yingling’s introduction to athletics began at age 10. 

“Every summer my parents sent me to sports camps in Maine and New Hampshire,” he says. “Throughout elementary and high school, that’s how I spent my summers.” He was exposed to all kinds of sports and loved them all. “I won the boxing trophy and baseball trophy one year,” he recalls.

A member of TU’s first football team in 1968, his passion for sports continues to this day, as does his generosity to TU.

On Oct. 7, during TU’s Homecoming celebration, his love for sports and TU came full circle with the dedication of the John B. Yingling ’71 and Family Practice Field. Located on the west side of the South Campus Athletic Fields, Yingling Field provides additional practice space for TU Athletics’ six field sports. The evening before the field dedication, he was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame banquet.

For more than three decades, Yingling and his family have been exceptionally generous to TU, beginning with his first gift of $25 in 1989. Since then, Yingling has committed more than $1 million in support of projects and programs at TU, with more than $900,000 going to the South Campus Fields and Athletics Capital Projects, a portion of which has directly supported upgrades for the women’s competition field and the practice fields. He also helped establish  the Alpha Omega Lambda fraternity’s Joseph Ferrante ’77 Memorial Scholarship at TU. He has been a generous donor to and actively fundraised for the scholarship.

After transferring to TU in 1968—which he calls “the best move I ever made”—and graduating in 1971, Yingling joined the family business, becoming president of Crawford Yingling Insurance in Westminster in 1983. Now retired, his son Benjamin runs the day- to-day operation of what is a fourth-generation family business.

The Yinglings’ support doesn’t stop with athletics.

In 2022, John endowed a scholarship in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics to honor his wife, Sharon Hafner Yingling ’71. The first scholarship was awarded during the 2022–23 academic year. John and Sharon met at TU. “I knew her at Westminster High School—she was ‘a brain’ and I was ‘a jock,’” he says, smiling. He saw her walking down the street in Towson on her way to class. “I snuck up beside her and stopped a bus on York Road so we could cross the street.” The rest is history—they celebrated 51 years of marriage in September.