From the AD's Desk
Aug. 24, 2012
Greetings from Bucknell and the 400 acres set apart!
I write to you on a beautiful August morning here in Lewisburg. This is always one of my favorite times of the year. The steamy mid-summer heat wave seems to have abated, and the Bucknell campus is once again buzzing with the return of students and the start of classes. From an athletics perspective, August always represents a period of renewal. We get to know our new staff members and of course our first-year student-athletes. All of our teams wipe the slate clean and start over with a 0-0 record. The positive energy in the building is palpable.
Believe it or not, we have already had our first official home event, a women’s soccer match in front of a very good crowd at Emmitt Field, and the majority of our other fall programs begin their seasons this weekend. Check out our composite schedule at BucknellBison.com to find the full slate of events for the fall season, or download schedules to your own mobile calendar.
You may have read on the website last week that the Bison Club enjoyed a record-setting year in 2011-12. When we closed the books on the 2012 fiscal year, an all-time high of $2,221,857 had been donated to Bison Athletics via the Bison Club. This was the ninth straight year that the Bison Club has gone over the $1 million mark, and this was the first time that we surpassed the $2 million plateau. In addition, nearly 3,500 donors supported the Bison Club last year, and helped us top our previous giving record by more than $400,000.
On behalf of all of our Bison student-athletes, coaches and staff, THANK YOU! Our mission to provide a successful and competitive Division I experience for our more than 700 student-athletes would not be possible without your support. As I communicated previously, our annual departmental budget is only partially funded by the university, meaning the remainder must come from annually fundraised dollars. Each of our 27 varsity programs directly benefit from your support.
The competitive landscape of the Patriot League is evolving upward, particularly with the 2013 addition of new member Boston University. Nearly all of the Terriers’ varsity programs are fully-funded, and BU has captured the America East’s all-sports cup seven years in a row. They are certainly going to present a set of challenges for all of our programs. In addition, our current Patriot League compatriots are all aggressively increasing their support of athletics as well, from facilities to staffing to merit aid. In this environment, the programs that stand still will be left behind!
Our goal is not to simply keep up with the rest of the league, but to continue building on our foundation of success and maintain our status as a national model for competing successfully at the highest level of college athletics while maintaining a student-focused environment that values achievement in the classroom as much as we value success on the fields of competition. We cannot accomplish these goals that without your support.
Later this fall, the public phase of Bucknell’s capital fundraising campaign will be launched on what is sure to be a fun, action-packed Homecoming Weekend. More details will be announced at Homecoming, but I am very pleased that Athletics will be an active component of this campaign.
This has been a very busy summer on the facilities front, and there will be more to come. The replacement of the FieldTurf and track surfaces inside Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium is now complete. The new field and the new blue and orange track are very attractive and eye-catching. Also this summer, beautiful new scoreboards have been installed at Graham Field and in Kinney Natatorium, and the brand new squash courts and refurbished racquetball courts are just about ready to open for play in Gerhard Fieldhouse.
Fundraising continues on the final phase of the baseball and softball facility improvement project. New playing surfaces, dugouts, fencing and scoreboards have all been added at both venues in the last two years, and now we are looking to complete both facilities with new grandstands and press boxes.
Last month we announced that McMillan-Pazdan-Smith/BCWH Architects has been hired to complete a feasibility study for a major renovation of Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Our historic stadium is in dire need of restoration, and our aim is to make it a facility on par with the Kenneth Langone Athletics & Recreation Center in terms of quality, functionality and aesthetics. The architect’s report and stadium plans will be announced later this fall.
In closing, I want to wish all of our programs the best of luck as we launch another year of Bison Athletics. I especially want to welcome our three new head coaches – women’s basketball’s Aaron Roussell, softball’s Bonnie Skrenta and baseball’s Scott Heather – and wish them well as they start their Bucknell careers.
Once again, thank you for your support of Bucknell and Bison Athletics. I hope to see you on campus at Homecoming, if not before. Until then… GO BISON!!!
Previous installments of "From the AD's Desk"