Planet Princeton

Rutgers University receives $15 million donation for academic center that will serve athletes

Rutgers Athletics has received the largest gift in its history, a $15 million donation to build an academic center for student athletes.

The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success will be built on the Busch Campus. The center will house academic support services for Athletics in one building. It will also house training facilities for the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse programs and offices for athletics’ administration.

“It’s fitting that the largest gift in Athletics history is focused on the academic success of our student-athletes,” said Rutgers Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “Gary and Barbara wanted to marry their two passions, academics and athletics. This facility will enable us to build a best-in-class academic support program. Rutgers is committed to student-athlete success while in the classroom and later in life after they have finished competing for the Scarlet Knights.”

The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success will serve all student-athletes and provide a range of resources, including academic advising, learning specialists, one-on-one and group tutoring, workshops and seminars, team study halls and a computer lab. The facility will also include a lounge area to for peer-to-peer learning among student-athletes from all sports.  The Rodkins are both graduates of The State University of New Jersey and have been major supporters of various programs at Rutgers.

“The great state universities pride themselves on excellence, both in academics and athletics. Being a successful student-athlete is a difficult balancing act.These young men and women represent us. We feel a responsibility to help provide the resources necessary for them to achieve on the playing surface and in the classroom,” Gary Rodkin said. “Most of our student-athletes are not going to play professionally or compete in the Olympics. It’s very important they graduate and contribute to their communities. We trust that many will become leaders in whatever field they choose to pursue.”

The facility will be located directly across from High Point Solutions Stadium on Scarlet Knight Way, on the northern border of Athletes’ Glen. The center will be the second facility to be built as part of the university’s “R B1G Build campaign, launched in 2016, to raise $100 million for new or upgraded facilities. The initiative has raised more than $92 million via both public and private support thus far.

A new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center located adjacent to the Rutgers Athletic Center and the Rutgers Business School is slated to open in 2019. The 295,000-square-foot, four-story sports facility and parking deck will provide state-of-the-art practice facilities for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling and gymnastics. A partnership between Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health will create a sports medicine program to serve Rutgers and communities throughout New Jersey.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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