College gets big boost to build new amenities
New stadium in St. Mar y’s City to be named in memory of former student Jamie Roberts
Part of a multimillion dollar donation has allowed St. Mary’s College of Maryland to meet its portion of funds for a new academic building, auditorium and stadium complex planned to be built during the next several years.
School officials this month said that they reached the $2.5 million fundraising mark thanks to a sizable donation by the William P. Roberts III family, given in the name of their late daughter, Jamie Roberts, an alumna of the college.
The college had been working since January 2015 to reach its fundraising goal to secure state funding for the estimated $76 million project. It had to raise the $2.5 million by the end of this year in order for the state to provide the rest.
Southern Maryland Newspapers reported in April that the college had raised $1.5 million, and with the donation from the Roberts family this month, the goal has been met.
The Roberts family included in their $2.2 million donation, which school officials say is the largest donation in St. Mary’s College history, $970,000 specifically for the building campaign.
“These kinds of transformational donations really speed us along the way,” Tuajuanda Jordan, the college’s president, said. “We’re incredibly grateful for this.”
She said there was never a doubt that the college would raise the money; the only question was how long it would take to do so.
“This is just an absolute great surprise that we’ve been able to reach it so soon,” Jordan said.
The project includes a new 16,000-square-foot academic building to house the school’s music department, education studies department and the Master of Arts and Teaching program along with educational common space areas and a 700seat auditorium. The building will be located in the space currently occupied by the campus’ main athletic field and track.
Across Mattapany Road, where there are currently practice fields, a 4,200-square-foot stadium building will be nestled between synthetic and grass athletic fields. School officials said that as a result of the family’s donation, the athletic complex will be named the Jamie L. Roberts Stadium.
Jamie Roberts, a 2011 graduate, was an economics major and three-sport athlete (soccer, basketball and lacrosse) who died in June of 2014 while riding a bicycle across the country during an event supporting cancer research.
Jamie’s father, Bob Roberts, said in a statement, “Jamie’s love for St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the athletics offered there, her teammates, coaches, faculty, staff and all her fellow SMCM student friends will live on as future students follow their own passion for college, intercollegiate sports, and enjoy a top-tier stadium. We are pleased to be able to partner with St. Mary’s and honor Jamie’s legacy.”
Jordan said she attended a memorial service for Jamie Roberts, and said the young alumna exemplified the college’s core values with her passion for her studies, respect for her fellow students and community and her love for athletics. Jordan said the college is “truly humbled by the generosity” of the Roberts family.
“The family has been supportive of the college” through other donations as well, the president said.
Once complete, the stadium building would have space for 800 people to sit at each field and would house training rooms, restrooms, concessions and a press box. The athletic fields will also be lighted.
College officials have said that the sports complex and auditorium could be used by community groups.
“The college is a really great citizen within the state and within the region,” Jordan said. “This won’t be any different.”
The St. Mary’s County commissioners considered earlier this year giving $1 million toward the project after a request from Jordan. However, the commissioners eventually nixed the idea.
The auditorium, school officials have said in previous interviews, would allow the college to offer more concerts and host nationally and internationally known performers. The 700-seat space could also be used as an inclement weather option for the popular River Concert Series.
The project is scheduled to be done in phases, beginning with the sports complex completed in 2019. The entire project could be completed by 2022.
An event to officially mark the accomplishment of the building campaign is scheduled for Sept. 17 and will include activities to thank donors and a groundbreaking for the stadium.
“All levels of donations help us,” Jordan said.
Carolyn Curry, vice president for institutional advancement and the executive director of the college’s foundation, said that the campaign has more than 2,700 donors that gave gifts ranging from $10 to $400,000, in addition to the Roberts family contribution.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, I also thank the governor and legislature for giving our college such a great opportunity to significantly enhance our programs. This will also provide both cultural and economic benefits to the region,” Gail Harmon, the immediate past board of trustees chair, said in a statement.
Plans for a new auditorium, classroom space and athletic fields and stadium at St. Mary’s College of Maryland are shown in the illustration above.