PC breaks ground on $8.2 million athletic facilities projectAugust 30, 2022
For many Blue Hose, Saturday’s groundbreaking ceremony to kick off $8.2 million in athletic facilities improvements was an event that was years, if not decades, in the making.
As Presbyterian College president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg pointed out, it was a day for rejoicing and gladness. A day to declare a major Blue Hose victory.
President vandenBerg announced the official names of two individual projects in the Championship Spirit initiative – the weight room renovation in Templeton Physical Education Center and the multipurpose facility for men’s and women’s wrestling, acrobatics and tumbling, and competitive cheer.
The John McIntosh Athletic Center – the MAC – honors 1961 alumnus John McIntosh, South Carolina’s former chief deputy attorney general. McIntosh’s generous seven-figure philanthropic gift to the Championship Spirit initiative came just a few years after endowing the John W. McIntosh ’61 and Family Endowed Scholarship for first-generation college students.
The rededicated Bob and Betty Strock Weight Room honors former coach and P.E. professor Bob Strock and his wife, Betty, both honorary alumni and stalwart Blue Hose supporters.
“As I travel around the country and meet with so many alumni, these are two of the people whose names come to mind when I ask, ‘Who made the difference for you in your PC education?’” said vandenBerg. “They are loved and considered royalty. They inspire our students and our alumni alike to dial into their championship spirit.”
President vandenBerg told the hundreds in attendance that the historic project – the most significant commitment to athletics facilities in PC history – followed the college’s time-honored tradition of rising to extraordinary challenges.
“It’s the tradition of responding when our backs are up against the wall,” he said. “It’s the tradition of finding a way to win even when the odds are stacked against us. Pluck and perseverance are a big part of the Blue Hose DNA and you need to know that these are traits that have been passed down from generation to generation for the better of a century and a half.”
The next generation of Blue Hose will also inherit those traits, said vandenBerg.
“We made this commitment because we believe that athletic programs are an irreplaceable part of the PC experience,” he said. “We did so because today, just as in days past, our student-athletes are some of our best and brightest scholars. Our former athletes are among our most engaged and successful alumni. Put simply, we did so because we believe that the student-athletes who come here to PC and buy into our championship spirit and culture deserve the very best.”
Tom Free ’91, the chair of the Championship Spirit committee, thanked fellow committee members for their “above and beyond” commitment of time and treasure, including:
- Justin A. Bethel ’12, honorary chair
- Jeremy Boczulak
- Willie Cooper ‘81
- Steven M. Crowe ‘73
- David M. Fields ‘92
- S. Grant Gillespie ‘00
- John S. Inman ‘87
- Alison Harris Jeselnik ’73 and L. John Jeselnik ‘73
- Bennett Nalley
- G. Wes Nalley ‘86
- Ted H. Pitts ‘94
- Gayla Marshall Smith ’85 and Steven M. Smith ‘84
- Mary Irwin Spearman ’84 and A. Brad Spearman ‘85
- Deno White
Free also saluted the hundreds of current student-athletes and their coaches who came to the groundbreaking.
“Thank you very much for everything you do between practices, classes, and labs – everything you do to wear those uniforms and represent this college,” he said.
The successful Championship Spirit Initiative will provide the following:
- A new multipurpose facility for men’s and women’s wrestling, acrobatics and tumbling, and competitive cheer
- A new field house with coaches’ offices, a locker room, lights, concession area, public restrooms, new seating, and a press box for softball
- A new field house with coaches’ offices, a locker room, concession area, public restrooms, new seating, and a press box for baseball
- New bleachers, a new scoreboard, video boards, and a new HVAC system for the Templeton gymnasium
- Renovation and new equipment for the weight room in Templeton
President vandenBerg said there is more to come in PC’s bright future.
“This is not an ending point,” he said. “It’s a beginning. It’s a source of future inspiration because tomorrow, we’re going to climb mountains and lift PC to new heights. In the work ahead of us, we are bound only by the limits of our own imaginations.”