The field will have already been played on for three weeks, but St. Bonaventure University’s newest athletics complex will officially be dedicated Sept. 19 to the people who made it possible.
Tom Marra, class of 1980, and his wife, Michelle, who donated $1 million to jump-start the campaign, will be on hand for the 6:30 p.m. dedication in advance of the 7 p.m. women’s soccer game vs. Binghamton.
A sign in the parking lot behind the Reilly Center, featuring new stairway access to the fields, will serve as the gateway to the fields.
The Tom ’80 and Michelle Marra Athletics Fields Complex will serve as the overarching name for the entire three-field complex. In keeping with tradition, however, the baseball field will still be called Fred Handler Park at McGraw-Jennings Field. Naming opportunities are still available for the softball and soccer/lacrosse/rugby fields.
The Marras donated $900,000 to develop the field-turf baseball complex, which opened for play in 2006. Tom was a former third baseman for the Bonnies and played for Coach Handler.
The Marras’ two gifts are the largest ever given to St. Bonaventure’s Department of Athletics.
The ceremony will signify the official completion of Phase I of the project. The campaign continues to raise $1.5 million for Phase II, which includes the renovation of the softball field and upgrades to amenities, including new scoreboards, press boxes, dugouts, team benches, and fan seating.
Construction on the soccer/lacrosse/rugby field began in late May, with an official groundbreaking held June 7 during Alumni Reunion.
A university trustee from 2003 to 2012, Marra worked for 30 years at Hartford Life Inc., eventually rising in 2002 to president and chief operating officer of the 8,000-employee insurance firm. In 2010, Marra was named president and CEO of Symetra, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Wash.
The athletics fields complex is one of the first projects in a proposed multimillion-dollar athletics facility upgrade at the university, and part of a global strategic plan for the Athletics Department, dubbed “Your Teams — Our Extraordinary Future.” A new $300,000 women’s basketball locker room opened before the 2013-14 season.
The eight-pronged strategic plan also looks at strengthening NCAA compliance; academic performance of student-athletes; annual revenue; fundraising; enrollment and retention; athletic team performance; and staff compensation.
People interested in donating should contact Darian Westerfield, senior associate athletic director for external relations, at (716) 375-2161, or email@example.com . To learn more about the strategic plan and facilities project, go to www.sbu.edu/yourteams.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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