University Receives Historic $50 Million for Athletic Program, Field

The university received an unprecedented $50 million donation today, the second-largest gift in its history and the largest in support of athletics.

The gift, made by Peter and Susan Cooper of Newport Beach, Calif., will bolster an existing athletics leadership program and fund renovations on the Multi-Sport Facility.

The three-year-old student leadership initiative will be renamed the Cooper Athletics Leadership Program, while the Multi-Sport Facility, which will be entirely renovated in around 12 to 18 months, will be renamed Cooper Field.

University President John J. DeGioia announced the donation in a university-wide email tonight, emphasizing the role CALP will play in supporting the education of Georgetown’s 750 student-athletes.

“The Coopers’ investment in our community will allow us to strengthen opportunities for students engaged in intercollegiate athletics and will help them prepare for leadership throughout their lives,” DeGioia wrote.

The Coopers’ five children attended Georgetown from 2002 to 2010. Four of the five children participated in varsity athletics, with three sons on the football team and one daughter on the swim team. In addition, Peter Cooper has served two terms on the university board of directors from 2001 to 2006 and 2007 to 2013.

Cooper said he and his wife realized the importance of developing leadership in student-athletes after their children had participated in the athletics program.

“Sue and I are thrilled to share in providing a leadership curriculum and experience for student-athletes. We believe that athletics and academics combine to provide an ideal crucible to create future leaders,” Peter Cooper wrote in a statement on the Georgetown Athletics website.

According to the university website, CALP will provide a four-year curriculum to educate student-athletes on elements of leadership, theories of influence and preprofessional skills. The donation will also fund research and professional development training for coaches.

CALP will house the existing Hoyas Lead, a university initiative founded in 2012 that provides academic guidance and support for student athletes. Assistant Athletics Director and Director of Student-Athlete Leadership and Development Mike Lorenzen will lead the CALP initiative, after having served as director of Hoyas Lead.

The Multi-Sport Facility will undergo renovations in its seating areas and locker rooms, in addition to other facility improvements.

In his email, DeGioia said that the field is central to the university community and the planning of on-campus construction.

“The Multi-Sport Field’s location in the heart of the campus is an important focus in our planning for the future,” DeGioia wrote. “As we work to create pathways that connect the academic, recreation and social hubs on campus, improvements to the Multi-Sport Field and the surrounding area will help bring our vision to reality, improving our physical spaces for all members of our university community.”

A full story will appear in Fridays issue.

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  1. Oh goody, more money for sports. Not for improvements to the library or help for low-income students or for academics or anything like that, oh no. It has to be for sports and athletic leadership, whatever that means. I find it hilariously awful that this news comes right after the news of Georgetown’s plummet in rankings for ‘doing enough for low-income students.’

    Yes, this family has the right to decide where they’d like their money to go, but I wish they had reconsidered athletics, or that the school had asked them to perhaps direct this to somewhere maybe a little more deserving…somewhere that’s not also getting a brand new facility very soon already.

  2. For what it’s worth, many Georgetown athletes (10% of the school, let’s not forget) are from lower-income families, and many of them would never have been able to attend Georgetown without athletics. I’m sure they will especially appreciate the ability to participate in leadership education and training that will enable them to succeed later in life. For generations, sports have been a means of achieving a more diverse campus, and while many colleges have over-emphasized athletics and gone too far down the path of professionalization and money-making, one can hardly say that about Georgetown’s non-scholarship football program or any of its other non-revenue sports (men’s basketball being the only sport that turns a profit).

    The MSF as it exists today is an eyesore, and a heavily used one by varsity and club sports and other student uses. Turning that facility into something worthy of the heart of Georgetown’s campus strikes me as a worthwhile venture, especially when we’re talking about only $10 million (the stadium cost), as compared to the $500 million the University has set as the fundraising goal specifically for financial aid and the $1 billion in the rest of the campaign for other University initiatives.

    The New York Times rankings for doing enough for low-income students have some good data behind them, but their methodology leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, they rank Moody Bible College at #25, 1 better than Yale, even though it costs #13,000 per year more than Yale for a middle income student (the group studied). And no one in their right mind would say the level of education at Yale is below that of MBC. So take those rankings with a big grain of salt.

    • “The MSF as it exists today is an eyesore, and a heavily used one by varsity and club sports and other student uses.”

      What exactly is wrong with the Harbin MSF? If I were a donor intending to support the athletics program here at Georgetown, I would much prefer to fix the serious hazard posed by Kehoe Field rather than expanding the MSF’s capacity when rarely fill it anyway and it’s already fairly new. Kehoe is in desperate need of replacement and we have exactly 0 outdoor tennis courts on campus now; both of those problems seem like they should be fixed before we start worrying about whether we need more seats for the one day a year when the Harbin MSF bleachers are full.

      Then again though, it’s the Cooper family’s money and they’re entitled to do whatever they want with it. I just think there are better uses for that money even if they specifically want to improve the athletics situation on campus.

      • It’s an unfinished facility with temporary stands that were never meant to be used for years full-time. It has no permanent restroom facilities, requiring the use of unsightly and undignified portapotties. It has no concession facilities, leaving provisions to an embarassing tent staffed by Paradise Ice Cream that has an improvised food preparation setup that churns out barely edible junk. It has no locker rooms, forcing the Hoyas to dress in McShane Lounge – a sadder solution than 98% of high school teams face. It has no permanent paving, instead using gravel that is unstable and potentially dangerous for those wearing heels, using crutches or wheelchairs, etc. It is surrounded by ugly chain link fence and does not integrate well into the heart of campus from a pedestrian perspective, lacking sidewalk on the side facing Harbin. It has ramshackle temporary press boxes with jury-rigged wiring. It has less seating capacity than any other football field in Division I.

        Should I keep going?

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