Houghton “Buck” Freeman ‘43

 Buck Freeman starred on the explosive 1940 soccer team that secured the New England Intercollegiate Soccer League Championship.  That team beat all comers, save Yale whom they tied 1-1 in double overtime.  Along with Tink and Doc Waters, Buck was one of the conference’s top scorers and the team’s best playmaker.  With nine goals overall, he scored in all but one game including two goals in each Little Three win, and a last second winner against Dartmouth.  When Dartmouth beat Yale, Wesleyan’s championship and New England supremacy were secure.  With a record of 7-0-1, the 1940 squad was the last Wesleyan soccer team to go undefeated in the regular season until last year’s 2009 team.

Buck was born in China where his father, Mansfield Freeman ’16 was an early partner in the eventual financial giant, AIG. Asia would remain a big part of his life.  After his junior year Pearl Harbor pulled him into the Navy and service in China.  He captained the 1946 team that went 6-1-1, scored a record 39 goals and won the Little Three.

 After Wesleyan, Buck and wife Doreen Freeman began a long career with AIG. Buck served as chairman of AIA in Japan and Vice-Chair of AIG in New York. He also served on Wesleyan’s Board. 

 In 1988, Buck and Doreen gave Wesleyan $5 million to start the Freeman Athletic Center. With the late Mansfield Freeman, Buck, Doreen and their son, Graeme ’77 founded the Freeman Foundation which they have lead since the early ‘90’s .  In 1994, they initiated the Freeman Asian Scholars Program that  has brought more than 250 students to Wesleyan from Southeast Asia.

 It seems fitting that 70 years after Buck’s  undefeated team the next one would star Keisuke Yamashita ’10, a Freeman Scholar from Japan.