Pegulas Commit Historic Gift To Penn State For New Arena And Hockey Program
Sept. 17, 2010
University Park, Pa.- Penn State President Graham Spanier announced to the Board of Trustees today (Sept. 17) the largest private gift in the University's history -- $88 million from Terrence M. and Kim Pegula to fund a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena and help to establish an NCAA Division I men's hockey program.
The gift paves the way for the creation of a Division I women's ice hockey program and enhanced figure skating opportunities.
"The Pegulas' unparalleled generosity will make it possible for Penn State to serve our region and our student-athletes in exciting new ways," said Spanier. "This arena will be an invaluable year-round asset for members of the University community as well as for children, youth and families throughout central Pennsylvania, and it will be an engine for economic growth and development. The Pegulas' support also will help us build a program that extends our rich tradition of preparing student-athletes for success in competition and in life."
The Pegulas, who live in Boca Raton, Fla., have been leaders in the oil and natural gas industry primarily in the Appalachian Basin. Terry Pegula is the founder and former president, CEO and principal shareholder of East Resources Inc., a privately held independent exploration and development company based in Warrendale, Pa., and acquired in July 2010 by Royal Dutch Shell. Pegula, born and raised in Carbondale, Pa., earned a bachelor of science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State in 1973, started East Resources Inc. in 1983 and built it into one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. Kim Pegula, a graduate of Houghton College, also has been involved with East Resources since 1991 and is a founder, along with her husband, of Black River Music Group, Nashville, Tenn., and Ayrault Sports Agency, Charlotte, N.C.
"We feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had great success due to the efforts of the exceptional management and fine employees of East Resources Inc., providing indigenous energy to the United States," said Terry Pegula. "We want to share our success with the people of Pennsylvania and with the very institution that helped me obtain the tools to launch my career in the oil and natural gas industry.
"We will now see through the hard work of the Penn State family that our passion will be shared with the families and communities of the region surrounding Penn State. We expect that Penn State will become a destination, not just for top college players and coaches, but also for the growing base of hockey fans from across the Commonwealth and the country."
The Pegulas' gift will launch the construction of a new arena at University Park that will be the only major rink within an 80-mile radius and on par with the best collegiate facilities in the country. An architect will be selected this fall for the arena, which is expected to open in December 2013. The facility will be built on the corner of Curtin Road and University Drive, directly west of the Bryce Jordan Center. It will include two ice sheets and other features that will allow it to be used for a broad range of campus and community activities, from commencement ceremonies to kinesiology classes to public skating sessions and camps for youth.
The facility will provide new training and performance opportunities for Penn State's popular and successful figure skating club and for the University's women's ice hockey team. It also will offer ice time to recreational and high school hockey programs, as well as intramural and local speed skating and broomball clubs. The state-of-the-art arena will be able to host events such as professional ice shows and National Hockey League and American Hockey League exhibition games, generating tourism and other economic impacts in the region.
"Our family hopes that our gift inspires other Penn State hockey and ice skating enthusiasts to become involved with this project as well as other athletic endeavors under the very capable leadership of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics," said Terry Pegula. "We plan to continue to support a variety of Penn State academic, cultural and athletic programs in the future."
The Pegulas' commitment also creates an endowment to support an NCAA Division I men's ice hockey program. "We're very proud of the success that our ACHA club hockey program has achieved, and this gift will allow us to take the sport to a completely new level at Penn State," said Tim Curley, director of Penn State's Intercollegiate Athletics. "Thanks to the Pegulas, we will be able to enter NCAA competition in 2012-13. Penn State's launch of Division I hockey will lead to additional competition within the Big Ten, and that has the potential to transform college hockey in this country. Penn State also plans to launch a Division I women's ice hockey program." (See separate news release http://live.psu.edu/story/48448).
The gift comes as the University is engaged in the largest fundraising effort in its history, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.
"This gift establishes a new standard in philanthropy at Penn State and will inspire support from other alumni and friends of the University," said Peter Tombros, a Penn State alumnus and the campaign's volunteer chair.
"The construction of the new arena will be entirely funded by private gifts," said Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. "Penn State will now be launching an ambitious campaign to ask other donors to join Terry and Kim in supporting this facility and the creation of other endowments to support the hockey and skating programs. Our goal is to make this arena, and the vast array of activities to be held in it, a national model by which all other programs are measured."