March 29, 2016
Q. When did you first become involved as a donor to Michigan Athletics?
Kurt Gulbrand initially worked with us to identify ways to become involved with relatively small donations beginning in 2006. We explored additional ways to give back and in 2008 we established scholarship and facilities pledges.
Q. What inspired you to support our vision for the Athletics Campus?
It was just an additional piece of our involvement with Michigan softball – scholarship support, operating cost assistance and facility improvement pledges all work together to help create a strong program. Our general approach is if Hutch needs something to make the program better, let’s get it!
Q. We recognized your generous contribution in the Softball Team Center – – Why did you want your recognition there? – How did your passion for our softball program develop? – How did you feel when the Softball Team Center construction was complete?
We felt support of a “non-big three” athletic program was an avenue where we could feel greater involvement and make more of an impact. All of our children (three girls) played softball in Michigan and California and the youngest even attended a Michigan softball camp. The fact that Carol Hutchins’ program is one of the most successful, and highly respected, programs in the country was a huge factor! The Team Center was the “final piece” so we were glad to offer our support. It is a first class facility for a first class program!
Q. What role do you feel facilities play in the student-athlete experience? How do you feel facilities impact athletic programs?
I suspect that the facilities provided to the coaching staff with the indoor batting cage, softball team building and other facilities are critical to allowing our student-athletes to efficiently train while the staff can implement the types of conditioning and softball training that results in the team being one of the best in the country year-in and year-out!
Even though you did not attend Michigan, you’ve been tremendous supporters of Michigan Athletics for many years. What makes Michigan so important to you?
We grew up just south of Ann Arbor and Pat’s mom worked in Michigan’s Central Development Office, so we were always fans of the University. Combine that with; a) our love of women’s softball, b) the stature of Michigan’s softball program that Carol Hutchins has developed and c) our desire to give back, all worked to make the initial decisions to support Michigan understandable and easy. Since that time, the involvement with Hutch, the staff and the program has been enjoyable. We believe is has been a good use of our donations. Even as non-alums, our involvement with Michigan has grown to be an enjoyable part of our yearly life.
Q. What is your favorite memory associated with Michigan Athletics?
Our most memorable is attending the football national championship game at the 1998 Rose Bowl. A very close 2nd is attending the 2015 softball College World Series. The favorite memories come from getting to really know the softball players and their families over the years, both while they are attending Michigan and after they graduate. The co-favorite memory is getting to know Carol, Bonnie and Jen over the last decade and trying to help support their program in any way we can!