The Kerr Cup Regatta was established by Drexel University Alumni in 1967 to honor former Drexel Coach, Dr. Thomas Kerr, Jr. Kerr Passed away in January 1988 at age of 78. Dr. Kerr is credited with starting the Drexel rowing program in the fall of 1957, serving as coach until 1968. He also served as the team's physician and surgeon. In addition, he served on several national and local rowing associations. He competed in the 1932 Olympics in the four-oared boat and was a member of the national champion eight-oared Shell-Penn A.C. in 1931. He was inducted into the Drexel Athletic Hall of Fame in June 1987.
The Regatta is headquartered at the home of the Drexel University Rowing Program, Bachelors Barge Club, #6 Boathouse Row. The featured race is the Men's Heavyweight Varsity Eight race, with the winner being presented the Dr. Thomas Kerr Cup. The winners of the women's varsity eight race will be awarded the Lela H. Kerr Cup.
Dr. Thomas Kerr was a key figure in the Drexel Crew team reaching varsity status. He coached the Bachelors Barge Club and after two years, his team of Drexel students was granted club status for two years before becoming a varsity sport in 1959. Kerr obtained shells, oars, equipment, secured a boathouse and coached the team until 1969. From 1952 until 1969 he was also the team physician and the university surgeon as well.
Kerr rowed at Syracuse and was the freshman coach while attending medical school. He spent 39 months in the U.S. Medical Corps as a surgeon. In 1974 he received the Syracuse University Letterman of Distinction Award. Kerr rowed for the Penn Athletic Club and was National and Canadian Champion in the eight and four-man competitions. He rowed in the 1932 Olympics and finished fourth in the four. Kerr was also a referee at nine world rowing championships including the 1968 and 1972 Olympics.