Cameron University has scored a grand-slam home run, thanks to a winning pitch from The McMahon Foundation in the way of a $1 million gift. Cameron President Cindy Ross announced the gift today during a special event held at the McMahon Centennial Complex. Joined by McMahon Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Kenneth Bridges, President Ross announced that the gift would be used for the construction of a new softball complex, to be named McMahon Field and Athletics Center. Ross noted that the McMahon Foundation has “stepped up to the plate” with this gift, the largest donation to Cameron University Athletics and the fourth-largest gift of any kind in the university’s history. Also in attendance were McMahon Trustees Kenneth Easton, vice-chairman; Mike Mayhall, secretary-treasurer; Dr. Ronald Cagle; Dr. Charles S. Graybill; Gale Sadler; and Orville Smith.
“Cameron University is deeply appreciative of the continued generosity of the McMahon Foundation,” says Ross. “The seven individuals who serve as trustees for the foundation have once again embraced the vision of Cameron University with our ambitious goals that are changing students’ lives and transforming the future of Southwest Oklahoma. This tremendous gift will allow the university to provide a state-of-the-art athletic venue that will benefit Aggie athletes and fans.”
“As the premier university in southwest Oklahoma, Cameron University has a tremendous impact on this region,” Bridges says. “In addition to being a leader in the academic field, Cameron also gives students many opportunities to develop teamwork, leadership and strategic skills through its athletic programs. The McMahon Foundation is pleased to support Cameron’s long-term vision with this gift, which will enable Cameron athletes to excel on the field of play.”
Due to a game, the Cameron Aggies softball team was represented via video. Pitcher Kelsy Hebert, a junior from Lawton who is majoring in Biology Education, spoke on behalf of the team, saying, “My teammates and I are so excited to learn we are receiving a brand new softball field and athletics center. On behalf of the softball team and all Cameron Aggie athletes, I send our sincerest thanks to the McMahon Foundation for this tremendous gift. Please know that this gift will touch the lives of many people.”
Hebert was joined by her teammates in expressing their gratitude to the McMahon Foundation with a “Thanks a million!” sign.
Playing three games in two days against Abilene Christian, the Cameron Aggies are trying to nail down a spot in the Lone Star Conference championship tournament. The team has qualified for post-season play three out of the last four years.
A rousing rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” led by student-athletes and members of the athletics staff, put the finishing touch on the announcement. Those in attendance received a Cameron Aggies seat cushion and were invited to stick around for the second half of this special Cameron “doubleheader” – a ballgame-style lunch of hot dogs, popcorn, lemonade, root beer and Cracker Jacks.
Since 1963, The McMahon Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of Cameron. This most recent gift brings the McMahon Foundation’s total contributions to Cameron to just under $16 million. Previous gifts include the largest single gift - $4 million – in the university’s history for the McMahon Centennial Complex (MCC), $1.25 million for the McMahon Living & Learning Center at Cameron Village and $1 million for the Academic Commons. Additionally, the McMahon Foundation has provided funding for scholarships; support for academic programs, KCCU and athletics programs including tennis, golf and baseball; and construction of the Louise D. McMahon Fine Arts Complex and the McMahon Foundation Tennis Courts.
The McMahon Field and Athletics Center will be located across 38th Street from McCord Field, in close proximity to Cameron Stadium parking. The facility will include dressing and locker rooms for the team and umpires, a press box, a concession facility, restrooms, an equipment storage room, covered bleachers, landscaped patio spaces with sun shades for additional viewing areas, an indoor practice facility with batting cages for both baseball and softball, and a new weight room for all Cameron athletes.
Total cost for the project is estimated at $1.84 million. A ground-breaking ceremony will take place on April 17th at 1 p.m. at the construction location. According to a proposed project schedule, the facility will be available for use in the Spring 2013.
The McMahon Field and Athletics Center adds to the $60 million in construction that has transformed the Cameron campus over the past nine years. The Academic Commons, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in July, will join the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES), the CETES Conference Center, Cameron Village, the School of Business Building, the MCC and the Bentley Gardens. Each of these capital improvements has played a part in Cameron’s status as the “Location of Choice” for community events and as the “University of Choice” for students throughout Southwest Oklahoma and beyond.
April 5, 2012