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

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - Twit­ter: @GretchenEn­tNews Twit­ter: @JesseEn­tNews By GRETCHEN PHILLIPS and JESSE YEATMAN gphillips@somd­ jyeat­man@somd­

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.


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