Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 30, 2007

Grad Gives U of G $1.1 Million to Enhance Athletics

The University of Guelph has received a $1.1-million gift to enhance athletic facilities and fund scholarships from retired automotive executive Larry Pearson, a U of G graduate and former varsity athlete who is now the assistant coach of the men’s volleyball team on campus.

It’s the largest single donation ever made to Guelph’s Department of Athletics and among the largest individual donations received by the University. It is also one of the largest gifts made to a Canadian university athletics facility.

The announcement was made today during the University’s Intercollegiate Athletic Banquet.

“Athletics has always been a big part of my life, and I strongly believe that sports are essential to rounding out a person’s character in preparation for the working world,” said Pearson, a former member of the University’s Board of Governors.

As a U of G student, Pearson played volleyball for the Gryphons until graduating with a degree in mathematics in 1972. He has served as an assistant men’s volleyball coach for the past year.

“I am very pleased to be able to help the University upgrade and improve its facilities and varsity programs,” he said.

President Alastair Summerlee said the gift will help Guelph fulfil its goal of helping all students reach their full potential. “For our athletes, this means providing them with opportunities to excel in both the sports arena and the classroom,” he said. “Larry’s generous gift is a perfect match for this goal because it will allow us to improve our athletic facilities and offerings and to provide scholarships.”

Of the $1.1-million gift, $1 million has been earmarked for facility enhancement, and $100,000 will be used to establish an endowment fund to provide scholarships for students playing men’s varsity volleyball.

“Larry has made a lifelong commitment to athletics and has been a good friend to the University of Guelph,” said athletics director Tom Kendall. “His gifts to the University and the Gryphon program illustrate his continuing support for the development of young people and a confidence in the Department of Athletics’ vision for the future. We are very grateful for and excited about this wonderful gift.”

Over the years, Pearson has made numerous donations to the University, including funding several pieces of equipment at the Health and Performance Centre.

“Larry’s gifts clearly demonstrate his dedication both to the University and to the importance of athletics in student life,” said Joanne Shoveller, vice-president (alumni affairs and development). “He represents University of Guelph alumni well by showing his leadership through his time, commitment and financial support.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824- 4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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