Friday, October 9, 2015

University of Albany Athletics Receives $10 Million Gift

ALBANY, N.Y. -- University at Albany President Robert J. Jones, Foundation President George R. Hearst III and Athletic Director Mark Benson announced that the University has received a $10 million gift to support the football stadium and other facilities, expand scholarships for student-athletes, and address additional priorities in athletics. The gift was made by The Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation, which was established by the son of Bernard and Millie Duker, William Duker ’75, of Westerlo and New York City, his wife Sharon (Casey) Duker, and their son William "West" Duker. The stadium will be named Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, in honor of Sharon (Casey) Duker’s parents. "This gift reflects the wonderful values Tom and Mary Casey instilled in their children about the importance of education and service to community,” said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones. “We are deeply grateful to the Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation for this investment, which will have a positive impact on our athletics programs, our student-athletes, and the UAlbany experience for many years to come.” The Casey family has a long legacy at UAlbany, Tom and Mary’s son, Thomas Casey, is a member of the Class of 1978 and their daughter Melissa (Casey) Faas has a graduate degree from the Class of 2001. One grandchild, Meghan (Casey) Wilkinson, has a Bachelor’s degree from the Class of 2009, while grandson Michael Faas is currently a UAlbany freshman. "Our parents passed down enduring family values," said siblings Thomas Casey ‘78, Sharon (Casey) Duker, and Melissa (Casey) Faas ’01. "We wanted this gift to represent those values and strong sense of community as well as their appreciation for academics and athletics, which they impressed upon all of us. We are pleased to support UAlbany’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence and proud to see our parents’ names attached to a great facility that is a valuable University and community resource. " The stadium was completed in September 2013. The stadium’s opening marked a signature moment for UAlbany athletics as its football program entered the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), one of the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences. The stadium’s field was named in honor of Bob Ford, who served as head coach of UAlbany’s football team for 44 years. The football facility will now be known as Bob Ford Field at Casey Stadium. "Our mission is to provide our student-athletes with a world class collegiate experience that starts with nationally ranked academic programs; continues with our championship coaches, administrators, staff and is complemented by our first class facilities." said UAlbany Athletics Director Mark Benson. "This transformational gift will enable us to improve that student-athlete experience for many years to come. The Casey and Duker families share our vision for the future of our athletic program and we offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for their generosity and valued commitment to the University." Benson added, that the gift will impact all 450 of UAlbany’s student athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and fans throughout the Capital Region. Part of the gift will be endowed for Casey Stadium with the purpose of providing upgrades and maintenance. An academic endowment for student athlete scholarships will also be established. The remainder will be utilized for athletic department initiatives and priorities including the development of an athletics facility plan and renovations to SEFCU arena. “Our hope is this gift will inspire others to invest in our campus community and athletic department,” commented Benson. “We will work to attain both public and private support to initiate these improvements.”

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