Donation arrives as university breaks ground on Austin Sports Complex

President Robin Baker joined Ken and Joan Austin and soccer coaches and alumni in Tuesday's ceremony.George Fox University, which broke ground on its new Austin Sports Complex April 13, announced another significant gift in the $6.5 million campaign to fund it: a $300,000 donation from Pacific Fibre Products of Longview, Wash.

The gift boosts the total amount raised to $2.1 million.

News of the donation coincided with the university’s groundbreaking celebration Tuesday. The event commemorated the start of construction on one of the complex’s sports fields, scheduled for completion in late summer – in time for the Division III fall soccer season. In recognition, Tuesday's ceremony included current and former soccer players and coaches.

The $300,000 donation represents the latest gift from a longtime benefactor: the Lemmons family, who began supporting the university financially when Pacific Fibre’s founder and former president, John Lemmons, served on the George Fox Board of Trustees during the late 1980s.

Pacific Fibre Products, now under the leadership of Lemmons’ son Larry, initially funded athletics and other institutional projects at that time, and in fact, one of the university’s buildings – the Lemmons Center – bears the family name.

More recently, Pacific Fibre gave $100,000 to George Fox’s athletic complex project over the past two years.

“We are grateful to generous families like the Lemmons, whose commitment to George Fox extends beyond the classroom,” said Shari Scales, the university’s vice president of advancement. “Their gift will truly impact our ability to provide more leadership opportunities for young people in our community.”

The $300,000 donation marks the third largest of the fundraising campaign. Previously, Newberg philanthropists Ken and Joan Austin, owners of the A-dec dental equipment manufacturer, donated the 23-acre plot of land for the project, and, in July 2009, Brad and Katharine Stoffer and their Boedecker Foundation presented a $1.2 million lead gift.

In addition, the university received confirmation in October of a $250,000 matching grant designated for the complex. The grant, from an anonymous Newberg family, will match dollar for dollar raised – up to $250,000 – toward the project. The university must meet the match by July 1, 2010. As of early April, the university was $35,000 shy of reaching the $250,000 goal.

The complex is a joint venture between the university, the parks district, Newberg High School, club teams and the community. It will include two multi-use synthetic turf fields that can be used for football, soccer or lacrosse, an athletic center building, three grass fields, and a walking/jogging path.

In March, the university’s board of trustees approved the return of Northwest small-college football to George Fox after a more than 40-year hiatus from the sport. The Bruins will kick off their Division III football program in the fall of 2013.

The first phase of the complex calls for the development of 11 of the 23 acres of land through construction of two synthetic turf fields and the athletic center building. George Fox is partnering with the local parks district to develop the remaining 12 acres in the second phase of the project, which will include the installation of three grass fields.

To learn more about the complex, visit georgefox.edu/Austin-complex.