Sacred Heart University’s Pioneer Club closed its third consecutive, record-setting year in support of SHU athletics, raising $4.05 million during the 2015-16 fiscal year from over 2,000 donors.
“It is an exciting time for Sacred Heart University athletics and, on behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, I would like to thank our loyal alumni, parents and friends for their generous support throughout the year,” said Executive Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine. “Without your support, we would not have the necessary resources to compete at the highest level, and our mission to provide a great student-athlete experience would not be possible.”
Over the past three years, Valentine and Nicholas Wormley, executive director of university advancement, have spearheaded a 527-percent increase in donations to the Pioneer Club—from $646,000 in fiscal year 2014 to this year’s $4.05 million. Equally as impressive, in the same time frame, the support of current student-athletes also skyrocketed due to the Forever Pioneer program. Led by a group of SHU students, the Forever Pioneers program promotes student-based philanthropic initiatives across campus and has increased student-athlete support—from 6 percent three years ago to 84 percent this past year.
“The culture of philanthropy is strong at Sacred Heart University and is a direct result of the rewarding experiences that our coaches and administrators provide our student-athletes,” said Wormley. “This is shown by the percentage of student-athletes and number of donors that support SHU Athletics, and we are grateful for their loyalty to the Pioneers.”
All contributions to the Pioneer Club support athletic scholarships, capital improvements and operating expenses such as team travel and recruiting. The condition and reputation of SHU’s athletic facilities is a top priority for the athletics department and vital to recruiting top student-athletes in the competitive Northeast Region.
The Pioneer Club raised $3 million towards facility enhancements and saw upgrades to Campus Field, including a new turf, track and scoreboard. The multi-purpose field is home to Pioneer football, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s track and field programs.
In addition, donations helped fund construction of a new playing surface for men’s and women’s soccer and rugby programs and enabled the field hockey team to play at one of the top facilities in the state. The athletics department also built a new Academic Services and Student Development Center inside the William H. Pitt Center.
The Pioneer Club provides critical funding and directly supports the needs of SHU athletics and its 945 student-athletes. For more information or to make a gift today, contact the Pioneer Club at 203-396-8108, or firstname.lastname@example.org.