By Gary Budzak
An anonymous alumni donor recently donated $1.625 million over five years to support Ohio Wesleyan University’s athletics program.
“It’s a great testament to the loyalty that our folks have to the different Battling Bishops sports teams,” OWU spokesman Cole Hatcher told The Gazette. “This one will especially benefit the men’s lacrosse team and also several of our women’s athletics teams, so we’re very pleased to utilize that gift to enhance those programs.”
According to the university, the endowed fund will be used to expand the coaching staff of the lacrosse programs and ensure long-term support of the men’s lacrosse program, which has won 18 of the first 30 North Coast Athletic Conference Championships and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs 27 times.
“This gift addresses some of our biggest program needs and will benefit our student-athletes immediately,” men’s lacrosse coach Mike Plantholt said in a statement. “I am humbled by our great alumni and their passion and generosity.”
In addition, the fund will enhance staffing three women’s sports in compliance with Title IX.
“Thanks to this gift, several men’s and women’s programs will be greatly improved,” athletics director Roger Ingles said in a statement.
Hatcher said donations to the university’s athletic initiatives are common.
He pointed to alumni funding for the 2012 renovation to the weight room and basketball court at Edwards Gymnasium, and this year’s $8 million donation for the creation of the Simpson-Querrey Fitness Center (the former Pfeiffer Natatorium).
OWU President Rock Jones said nearly one-third of the student body participates in varsity athletics.
For more information, visit www.battlingbishops.com and http://giving.owu.edu.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.