Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, announced yesterday that a $1.3 million gift from the parents and friends of Villanova Field Hockey to establish a “Villanova University Field Hockey Field” at The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken. This gift, the largest ever made to a Villanova Athletics’ women’s program, will provide a new home for the field hockey team, and impact both the competitive and recruiting landscape of the program.
“This was truly a team effort that took a lot of time and patience to work through on multiple levels both inside and outside the University,” said Director of Athletics Mark Jackson. “None of it would have been possible without the generous support of our donors who recognized the need to invest in our field hockey program. This gift will give us an elite playing field and the right kind of environment to allow us to compete in field hockey at the highest levels of Division I.”
This new home for field hockey is the product of a partnership between Villanova Athletics and the Chief Executive Office of The Proving Grounds, Paul Tornetta. A key feature is the synthetic playing surface, known as “wet turf,” in which water cannons are used to wet the field prior to and at halftime of every game. The date for the Wildcats’ first game at the Villanova Field Hockey Field at The Proving Grounds will be announced later this summer.
“We are extremely excited about our new Villanova Field Hockey turf facility,” said Wildcat Head Field Hockey Coach Joanie Milhous. “The Poligras Olympia field hockey surface is the preferred surface that has been played on for the past three Olympic Games. It will be one of the most state-of-the-art, premier field hockey facilities in the country, and will take our Villanova Field Hockey program to the next level. We are thankful to those who were instrumental in making this happen.”
The leadership gift is part of Villanova University’s comprehensive capital campaign, For the Greater Great: The Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change, which was launched in October 2013, and is the most ambitious in the University’s nearly 175-year history. To date, more than $550 million has been raised toward the Campaign’s $600 million goal, including more than $95 million for Villanova Athletics priorities. Of that total, over $45 million in gifts and pledges have been directed in support of athletics facilities, including the construction of a new West End Zone Complex, the development of the Higgins Soccer Complex, and upcoming enhancements to the Davis Center and a renovation of the Pavilion, among others.
“Donors to Villanova Athletics truly understand the value of the student-athlete experience and invest in that experience,” said Mike O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement. “This gift to Villanova Field Hockey exemplifies the remarkable generosity we’ve seen from alumni, parents and friends throughout this campaign. We are extremely grateful for this important contribution.”