Gift to BGSU hockey honors Scott Hamilton

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Figure skater Scott Hamilton learned to skate in Bowling Green State University’s Ice Arena. Now, a gift in his name will support the University’s scholarship campaign for the hockey team that plays there.

BGSU announced today that Hamilton, in partnership with the Pioneer Fund, has donated $500,000 to the University’s “Bring Back the Glory!” campaign to endow the Scott Hamilton Hockey Scholarship. 

The donation is the largest gift to date to the campaign to support BGSU hockey. Hamilton, the Bowling Green native and Olympic gold medalist, is serving as the honorary chair of the effort. 

Launched in October, the campaign will raise $5 million to endow scholarships for the program and enhance the Ice Arena. Garry Galley and Mike Pikul, members of BGSU’s 1984 national championship team, have reunited to co-chair the campaign.

“Looking back on the first days on the ice at the BGSU Ice Arena, I never could have imagined what they would bring,” Hamilton said. “The Ice Arena has given me many of the most incredible moments of my life. I am excited to help bring the facility back to those glory days where other young people from BG can build their own memories and dreams. I have no idea who, what or where I would be without the BGSU Ice Arena.”

Arguably the most recognized male figure-skating star in the world and a member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, Hamilton has won 70 titles, awards and honors including an Emmy Award nomination and induction into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

He captured the attention of the world 25 years ago with his Olympic gold-medal performance in Sarajevo and since has shared his love and enthusiasm for the sport as a commentator and professional performer.

“Scott Hamilton’s name is synonymous with the BGSU Ice Arena,” said BGSU President Carol Cartwright. “Scott has been tremendously generous to the University over the years. He represents the heart and soul of the arena and the skating community. We’re delighted that Scott and his supporters have generously stepped forward to help BGSU once again.”

Hamilton is also an accomplished motivational speaker, philanthropist and author. A survivor of cancer and a brain tumor, he released his inspirational book “The Great Eight” in January. He also appeared on “The Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC earlier this year.

According to Marcia Sloan Latta, interim vice president for University advancement who is overseeing the campaign, Hamilton’s sporting interests go beyond figure skating.

“People may not be aware of Scott’s passion for hockey,” Latta said. “We were grateful that he agreed to support the campaign as an honorary chair. Words can’t describe our gratitude for this generous gift to endow a scholarship for BGSU hockey.”

Hamilton and the Pioneer Fund also endowed the Ernest & Dorothy Hamilton Professor of Entrepreneurship position at the University in memory of his parents, both of whom taught at BGSU
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According to Latta, when awarding the Scott Hamilton Hockey Scholarship, preference will be given to students interested in business.

Hamilton said he hopes the gift will inspire others to contribute. “It would be a terrible shame to allow this miraculous place to diminish any further,” he said. “What single place has brought more pride to the city of Bowling Green than the Ice Arena? Let's work together to build a new foundation of quality, integrity and plain old-fashioned fun!”

Helen Myers McLoraine, the late Denver businesswoman and philanthropist, established the Pioneer Fund. According to Hamilton, McLoraine was a supporter of his amateur skating career and a longtime friend who loved all things related to education, skating and ice.

According to Cartwright, $4 million appropriated by the state and the University will aid in the renovation of the Ice Arena to upgrade the compressors, chillers and infrastructure. Additional improvements will be considered based on the Ice Arena's business performance and the interest of private donors in supporting the arena.

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(Posted December 17, 2009 )