Dukes present $2.5 million gift for athletic center at new stadium
For more than 25 years, philanthropists Marilyn and John Duke have had a passion to support Christian higher education at George Fox University. In August of 2011, that dedication was presented in the form of a $2.5 million donation – one of the largest single cash gifts ever given to the university – to assist in the education of scholar-athletes.
In announcing the donation, the Southern Oregon couple said it reflected their commitment to supporting the quality of education at George Fox, whose mission is to "prepare students spiritually, academically and professionally to think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion."
Donation to fund construction of athletic center
The gift will be applied to construction costs of the athletic center at Stoffer Family Stadium, slated for construction on the campus of George Fox. With more than $4.6 million raised, George Fox has nearly two-thirds of the funds needed to complete the $7.2 million project.
The Dukes' gift provided a boost that will allow construction to begin on the athletic center, a 15,000-square-foot facility that will include an athletic training room, locker rooms, equipment storage rooms, a press box, offices and a weight room for the new Stoffer Family Stadium, future home of the George Fox football team. Football will return to the university in the fall of 2014 after a 44-year hiatus from the sport.
A commitment to Christian higher education
"The Dukes' donation is not simply a gift to support football at George Fox University," George Fox President Robin Baker said. "This represents their commitment to what we at George Fox provide – an education in which students will be known personally, academically and spiritually. The Dukes recognize that some of life's most meaningful and important lessons can be learned outside of the classroom. Athletics is one of those arenas. It's where many of our young people learn lessons in leadership, mentoring, teamwork and work ethic.
"And at the Division III level, where there are no athletic scholarships awarded, our focus when it comes to athletics is on participation and playing for the love of the sport. There is a proper balance between academics and athletics. Marilyn and John appreciate this, and we are deeply grateful for their support."
The Dukes have been consistent financial supporters of the university since the early 1980s, when their two daughters, Julie and Cindy, attended the school. Initially, the Dukes' support went to building projects such as Bauman Auditorium and the university's library, the Murdock Learning Resource Center. They later created the Duke Endowed Scholarship Fund that continues to provide financial assistance for students.
The addition of football marks the return of a long-time tradition to the university: George Fox, with the exception of a brief period in the late 1920s and during World War II, fielded a football team from 1894 to 1968.
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