Successful President’s Gala supports Saint Martin’s University Capital Campaign

November 22, 2006

Lacey, Washington ---Saint Martin’s University held its first annual ‘President’s Gala’ Saturday, November 11th at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia. The event, organized by members of Saint Martin’s President’s Council and other community volunteers, raised $110,000 for the $5.5 million A Winning Spirit capital campaign to construct new recreation and athletic facilities on the University campus. The President’s Council is a 20-member advisory board to University President Douglas Astolfi on fundraising and public relations initiatives.

The gala event was co-chaired by Saint Martin’s alumni, Al Eckroth, HS ’62, ’66 of Olympia, and Dr. Richard B. Hecker, ’81, San Antonio, Texas.

The University’s strategic planning team has made improved recreation and athletic facilities a priority to recruit and retain students. Gifts made to the campaign will be used to construct a new recreation and athletic center near Saint Martin’s Pavilion, as well as a soccer field and track near the current baseball diamond.

“There’s more to a university education than what happens in the classroom,” notes Astolfi, “Opportunities for recreation, fitness and athletic competition are really important to our students. In fact, recent surveys tell us that students have identified improved recreational and athletic facilities as the number one priority for this campus.” The planned facilities will support Saint Martin’s goal to serve the whole student in mind, body and spirit.

“New recreation and sports facilities will attract and retain students as the University looks ahead to growing into a stronger community,” Astolfi continues. “Saint Martin’s also is pleased to see more students choosing to live on campus. This trend further reinforces the need for on-site space for exercise classes, intramural sports and other fitness activities,” he adds.

The gala provided a focal point to support the new facilities. The evening social event was attended by 380 Saint Martin’s supporters and featured silent and live auctions for a wide variety of donated goods, dinners and travel opportunities. Bidding was lively and spirited leading to more than $50,000 in auction proceeds.

Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 22 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. A Catholic, Benedictine university, Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,100 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey, Washington main campus, and 600 more to three extension campuses.

For Additional Information:
Anne Kirske
Interim communication director


2006 President’s Gala leaders gather with President Douglas Astolfi. Left to right: Dick Roney ’64, vice chairman of the University’s board of trustees; R.B. “Doc” Hecker ’81, trustee and Gala co-chair; Mervet Sanchez, account executive with Gala sponsor Chicago Title; Dr. Astolfi; and President’s Council member and Gala co-chair Al Eckroth HS’62, ’66.

Young alumni and friends meet President and Mrs. Astolfi at the 2006 Gala. Front row, left to right: Courtney Carignan, guest of Danny Ireland; Deidre Eaton, SMU senior and ASSMU President; Dr. Douglas Astolfi and his wife, Betsy; Jonathan Sprouffske ’04 and his guest Kate Clizbe. Back row, left to right: Anthony Rapaglia, SMU senior; and Danny Ireland ’04.

The sale of raffle tickets for one year’s free tuition also raised support at the Gala for the new recreation and athletic center, soccer field and track. Shown here (left) selling tickets is freshman soccer team member Jaci Carico. Ticket buyers are Gerald and Gloria Schmidtke, who attended the Gala representing Twin Star Credit Union.