October 6, 2015 – A $50 million gift to Georgetown will support an innovative leadership program for the university’s 750 student-athletes and fund the completion of the sports field situated in the heart of campus.
The gift, from Georgetown parents Peter and Susan Cooper of Newport Beach, California, is one of the largest ever received by the university and is the biggest gift to the athletics program.
“Georgetown is deeply grateful to Peter and Sue for their commitment to our students and their ongoing dedication to our campus community,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “This investment will allow us to provide extraordinary opportunities for students engaged in intercollegiate athletics, preparing these young people for success both on and off the field.”
The historic gift will underwrite a pioneering, academically based program that develops leadership skills and opportunities for students involved in one or more of Georgetown’s 29 Division I sports and teams.
The gift also will enable the university to further develop the centrally located Multi-Sport Field that is currently home to Georgetown’s football, field hockey and lacrosse teams, as well as club sports and universitywide events.
As permanent recognition of the Coopers’ generosity, the three-year-old student-athlete leadership initiative will be named the Cooper Athletics Leadership Program and the existing Multi-Sport Field will be renamed Cooper Field when it is completed in an estimated 12 to 18 months.
A commitment of assets associated with holdings in Dimensional Fund Advisors, the gift will result in Georgetown receiving an income stream from the assets and additional earnings upon redemption or sale. Annual income from the gifts is fully expendable in support of the leadership program, the field and other needs within Athletics as the gift grows over time.
A HOYA FAMILY
“The athletics program at Georgetown has played a significant role in our family’s life,” said Peter Cooper, a former Georgetown Board of Directors member and founder and executive chairman of Cooper and Company, a real estate and private equity investment firm.
All of the Coopers’ five children are Georgetown alumni. They include twins Kylie (C’02, L’06) and Ryan (B’02), as well as Matthew (B’07), Kris (B’10) and Adam (G’10). Kylie Cooper’s husband, Michael McNamara (B’02), is also an alumnus.
Kylie was co-captain of the women’s swimming team and three of the couple’s sons played football at Georgetown.
The Cooper Athletics Leadership Program is an initiative that teaches leadership through an academic framework.
The program is built on the philosophy that participation in college athletics provides a prime opportunity for personal development and experiential learning in leadership, and the belief that all Hoyas have the potential to be influencers before and after graduation.
“Sue and I are thrilled to share in providing a leadership curriculum and experience for student-athletes,” Peter Cooper said. “We believe that athletics and academics combine to provide an ideal crucible to create future leaders. The program is a wonderful fit with Georgetown's Jesuit values and tradition of care for others.”
Mike Lorenzen, Georgetown’s assistant athletics director for student-athlete leadership and development, will run the Cooper Athletics Leadership Program. Lorenzen, who holds a master of arts in international relations from Yale and a doctorate in education from the University of the Pacific, is an experienced coach, consultant and teacher who researches and writes on leadership and team dynamics.
Surrounded by residence halls and academic buildings, the current sports field is a hub of activity from early morning until late at night. The field hockey, football and women's and men's lacrosse teams – as well as several club sports teams – use the field for practice and competition. The field also hosts such popular university events as Relay for Life and community heritage festivals.
“By its design and location, the Coopers’ gift will have significant and long-term impact on the Department of Athletics and the university as a whole,” said Lee Reed, Georgetown’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “It will enable us to fulfill the high-level operating needs of our Division I athletics program while providing a central, multifunctional gathering place for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.”
The facility’s final design, now under development, will include additional seating for fans, “game day” locker rooms and more.
“We’re delighted that the facility creates a wider range of spaces for people to gather on campus,” Peter Cooper added. “Gathering together is the heart of community.”