Citadel President Maj. Gen. John S. Grinalds and Director of Athletics Les Robinson announced Friday, Aug. 29, 2003, that a graduate who has chosen to remain anonymous has given The Citadel Foundation $1.5 million with the major portion earmarked for the revitalization of Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The donor said that he hopes the gift will help move up the schedule for revitalizing the aging facility and engender other gifts. He has directed the gift to the stadium project as part of an overall effort to raise $10 million.
"Gifts like the one from this anonymous donor make major goals achievable," Grinalds said. "The Citadel will benefit greatly from the long-range influence of his gift, and we are extremely grateful for his generosity and are excited by the challenge he has given us all."
Said Robinson: "We are pleased that another loyal Citadel alum has stepped forward with this generous gift. It gives this project a lot of momentum as we approach football season, and the timing of this gift could not be better. Words cannot express our gratitude to this individual."
The revitalization funds will be used to build new seating, clubrooms, corporate suites, a new scoreboard and other improvements at the antiquated stadium that opened on Oct. 16, 1948. It is hoped that funds from corporate suites and clubroom seating, which are anticipated to generate significant revenue, will augment other athletic funding and prevent another financial situation that could cause The Citadel to eliminate additional competitive sports programs in the future. This summer, The Citadel discontinued both men's soccer and men's golf because of funding difficulties, although the golf team was reinstated for the year through private donations.
The donor would like to see the stadium generate enough new revenue to guarantee a viable and financially sound athletic program, saying that if he's learned anything at The Citadel, it's that Citadel people respond when they are faced with serious challenges.
The graduate adds that in today's environment, there is no question that being a cadet at The Citadel is most appropriate. He points to the fact that honor, integrity and patriotism are never out of style and that the United States will always need leaders that will put others before self. He adds that The Citadel's cadet-student-athletes play a major role in gaining the exposure needed to sell the college to prospective students.
The donor points to the likes of John Rosa (Citadel Class of 1972 who is the new superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy) and Jack Douglas (Class of 1992 and a successful Columbia businessman) of the world who have played on the turf at Johnson Hagood Stadium and who have made many realize the value of a Citadel education.
The donor has given generously to the many academic missions of the college over the years and applauds Gen. Grinalds and The Citadel Board of Visitors for their vision and focus to these ends. He feels he can best help his alma mater by bringing the facility that houses the largest annual gathering of Citadel alumni to modern standards.
The graduate firmly believes that the stadium will offer many the opportunity to learn of the state of affairs, visit and talk with classmates and Citadel officials alike, experience the camaraderie, and give back to an institution that has molded so many young lives. He says that a new stadium will enhance that experience, and possibly more.
The benefactor also hopes that significant donations will follow as the football season opens and that the stark realization of the need becomes an incumbent responsibility upon all graduates, fans and community-minded citizens. He suggests that we all should be earnest partners in assisting the surrounding neighborhood with a better-lighted and better-landscaped park atmosphere.
He visualizes that the stadium be torn down at the conclusion of this season and open the 2004 campaign with something that everyone will have built together. He challenges others to use the time frame of the football season to step forward with pledges that will make 2003 the last season in the old stadium.
Coupled with other donations, including a $1 million gift received last season by Palm Beach, Fla., real estate developer and attorney Gene Moore, nearly $3 million of private stadium money is now attained towards the $10 million it will take to begin the much-needed renovations and replacement.