As a businessman and a parent of a Penn State football alum, G. Patrick Stillman has noted a correlation: The better PSU’s football team does, the more the alumni give to the institution. As a trustee for Cairn University for over 30 years, he wants to see the same benefits here at Cairn.
“The better an athletic team does, the more alumni give,” Stillman explains. “People give because they want to be associated with an institution. When your volleyball team or crosscountry team beats everyone else, it makes you proud of your school, and you want to be a part of that. It adds to the atmosphere. It’s exciting.”
In light of Cairn’s recent athletic successes such as the men’s cross-country championship “three-peat,” Pat and Beulah Stillman are leading the way in “being a part of it.” Their $3 million gift will support upgrades to the University’s exterior athletic facilities and move The University closer to its goal of $9.9 million invested in facilities supporting student life and athletics across campus. Plans for the complex are flexible, depending on the amount of money raised and the priorities of additional donors, but range from new lights and spectator seating to fire pits and sand volleyball courts for general student use.
The gift also supports Cairn’s strategic plan, which emphasizes “improv[ing] athletic facilities to meet NCAA expect- ations and standards and to provide staff and student-athletes with office and training space commensurate with collegiate expectations.” This gift will also help instill school spirit among students, retain highly qualified coaches, boost undergraduate enrollment, and support new programs such as pre-physical therapy and a sports management track for business majors.
A former professional football player, Stillman knows the impact of athletics on the development of the whole individual: personally, academically, and spiritually. “I look at athletics as a real contributor to the all-around student-athlete,” he says. “The more they participate in athletics, the more it’s going to shape them into a much more well-rounded person before they graduate.”