With a big crowd in attendance on a perfect, clear night, Spalding University broke in its new athletic fields complex on the evening of Oct. 23 with a grand opening celebration that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

About 800 fans gathered under the lights of the 7.3-acre complex between South Eighth and South Ninth streets to watch the Golden Eagles’ men’s and women’s soccer doubleheader, as well as a grand opening ceremony and ceremonial “First Kick” of soccer ball between games.

It was the culmination of nearly six years of private fundraising for the complex and about six months of construction, which was overseen by general contractor Schaefer Construction. The finished product will be a source of pride and achievement for the university for years to come.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer praised Spalding President Tori Murden McClure, Athletic Director Roger Burkman and the entire university community for being unafraid to take on big projects.

“And this was a big project,” the mayor said.

“What I love about Spalding is that you guys work hard each and every day,” Fischer said, before alluding to McClure’s most famous individual athletic feat. “It’s kind of like rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, one stroke at a time. If there’s something to be done, you can bet on this team here at Spalding. The kind of hope that you all represent, the persistence that you represent, it’s come true here tonight with this great facility. It’s a wonderful bridge for hope for our entire community. Tori, Roger, and the entire team, thank you very much on behalf of our great city. Wonderful job.”



Located on the site of a former unused industrial brownfield and about four blocks west of the primary campus, the athletic complex provides for the first time an on-campus home for Spalding’s men’s and women’s soccer and softball teams, which have previously had to travel to high school facilities around the city to practice and host games.  The complex includes two turf soccer fields and a turf softball field that are lighted and can be used year-round. The Spalding softball team will begin playing at the complex during the upcoming spring 2020 season.

Spalding University Athletic Fields lit up at dusk
The Spalding University Athletic Complex was lit up on the edge of downtown during the Oct. 23 grand opening soccer doubleheader.

“Now (the soccer and softball programs) have a place that they can call their own,” Burkman said. “It’s a game-changer. You think about it from a recruiting standpoint and how it’s going to level that playing field, so to speak. And you can already see on the faces of our athletes how excited they are. When you talk to them about it, they just start smiling, and they just light up. And in the prospects who come to campus, you can see their eyes light up as well.”

New Spalding sports programs are set to make the complex their home as well.

Spalding is already in the early stages of adding men’s and women’s lacrosse, utilizing the soccer field that is also lined for that sport. Though a full plan for the creation of men’s and women’s lacrosse programs is still being developed, the university recently posted job openings for a men’s coach and women’s coach.

The other soccer field is lined for field hockey, allowing Spalding to explore adding a program in that sport, too.

The complex will also be available for outside clubs and schools to rent.

Surrounded by dozens of new trees and extensive landscaping, the fields complex also helps beautify the neighborhood at a site where there was previously nothing but asphalt and weeds. It continues Spalding’s effort to green and transform urban spaces south of Broadway. In recent years, the school turned a 2.2-acre parking lot into Trager Park – a grassy public recreational space at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky – and built the Mother Catherine Square green space in the center of campus at South Third and West Breckinridge.

More photos | Look back at months’ of the athletic fields’ construction progress and the grand opening on Spalding’s Facebook page.

Love Spalding University? Thursday, Oct. 3 is a great day to show your support.

That’s the day Spalding will hold its fourth annual Giving Day fundraiser – 24 hours focused on generating donations from within Spalding’s community of faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and going through midnight, donations can be easily made online at spalding.edu/givingday as Spalding sets the goal of another Giving Day record.

Spalding raised a Giving Day-record $31,161 last year, and it’s raised the bar in shooting for $35,000 this Thursday.

Spalding Alumni Relations and Fundraising Manager Scotty Brooks, who graduated from Spalding in June, said that when he was a student, he enjoyed the sense of community around the university and the feeling of responsibility that everyone shared to help take care of the campus and keep it thriving.

“It’s really nice to see alumni who have graduated who want to support the campus for future students,” Brook said. “I would encourage people to give on Giving Day to enhance the experience of the students who are here now and will be here in the future.”

Giving Day 2019 | Make your contribution

On Facebook | Spalding’s Giving Day Celebration with Bridge 19

Donate anytime to Spalding | spalding.edu/donate

Support the athletic fields complex | spalding.edu/fields

Spalding will celebrate its Giving Day contributors 6-9 p.m. Thursday with a free concert by the band Bridge 19 at Highlands Taproom, 1058 Bardstown Road. RSVP at this link. Bridge 19 is led by Spalding alumnae Amanda Lucas and Audrey Cecil. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must be 21. Free food will be provided while it lasts, and alumni are encouraged to wear Spalding blue and gold.

“It’s a great way for us to say thanks to alumni and faculty and staff and have them come out and celebrate Giving Day with us,” Brooks said. “It’ll be a great time.”

Most of the contributions on Giving Day go toward Spalding’s Blue and Gold Fund, which has the most need and which supports projects around campus that enhance the student experience.

Contributors, however, may specify another area where they’d like to see their donation directed, including the athletic department, the athletic fields project, scholarships and renovation efforts to the historic Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion and its chapel. (With Mansion donations, every dollar will be matched by the Ar-Hale Family Foundation.)

The online form also gives the option of making the gift one time, quarterly or monthly. There are also options to donate anonymously, as a tribute to another person, as a joint gift with a spouse, or as a gift that will be matched by an employer.

Giving Day doubles as the kickoff day for Spalding’s Faculty-Staff Campaign for fundraising, which will continue into November.

Spalding take prides in the level of giving it receives from its employees, which is traditionally higher than many institutions, and the university’s Office of Advancement is again shooting for at least 70 percent participation in this Faculty-Staff Campaign.



A crowd of about 1,000 college basketball fans and friends of Spalding University packed Cardinal Stadium’s Brown and Williamson Club Monday night to get the lowdown on March Madness while supporting the NCAA Division III Golden Eagles’ athletic department.

Spalding’s 11th annual Bracketology fundraiser featured a star-studded panel of basketball analysts –  former Louisville stars Luke Hancock and Milt Wagner, former Kentucky stars Mike Pratt and Dan Issel and former U of L assistant Jerry Jones – on stage to reflect on their playing and coaching days and to make their picks for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

For those who couldn’t make it out, we’ve got you covered. Here are the Final Four and national champion picks of the panelists.

Mike Pratt
East: Duke
West: Gonzaga
South: Tennessee
Midwest: Kentucky
Title game: Duke over Tennessee

Luke Hancock
East: Duke
West: Florida State
South: Virginia
Midwest: North Carolina
Title game: North Carolina over Florida State

Dan Issel
East: Duke
West: Michigan
South: Tennessee
Midwest: North Carolina
Title game: North Carolina over Duke

Milt Wagner
East: Duke
West: Florida State
South: Tennessee
Midwest: Kentucky
Title game: Duke over Kentucky

Jerry Jones
East: Duke
West: Buffalo
South: Virgina
Midwest: Houston
Title game: Duke over Houston

Bracketology is the largest annual fundraiser for Spalding’s athletic program. In addition to fans hearing from and taking with the celebrity bracketologists, the event also featured a buffet dinner, a bar, a silent auction with a trove of sports memorabilia and other cool items and a $20,000 cash raffle.

We hope to see you next year!


Table setting at Spalding Bracketology with
The Bracketology table setting. Photos by Meghan Holsclaw.

Spalding University, enTECH and Kosair Charities helped make this early part of the holiday season bright on Tuesday for the families of six children who face special challenges.

Surrounded by holiday decorations and gathered by the tree at the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) Assistive Technology Resource Center, those families received gifts of assistive technology that will help the children learn, play and communicate. The devices were distributed to families who applied through the enTECH and Kosair Charities Financial Assistance Program, which is supported by a grant from Kosair Charities.

Kosair Charities President Keith Inman was on hand to deliver the devices to a thankful group of kids and their parents.

“Any kind of help we can get is a true blessing,” said Heather Vanover, whose 9-year-old son, Hunter, who has Poland syndrome and autism, received a Buddy Bike tandem bicycle that he can ride with a parent.

Hunter has been coming to enTECH and Kosair Charities Integrated Technology Experience (KITE) camps for most of his life and has worked with enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff since he was an infant.

“Good job, bud!” Amshoff told Hunter as he climbed on the bike. “Look at you go!”

The bicycle will help Hunter work on his balance and develop his core strength while, above all, enabling him to interact with his family and experience the joy of bike rides with them, Heather Vanover said.

“Every parent wants their child to gain access to as much as they can or to learn as much as they can,” Amshoff said. “Through the support from Kosair Charities, we’re able to have materials and to have technology to offer these families so that their children can have the maximum potential.”

Brantly Grienenberger, 5, received a Tobii Dynavox Indi speech tablet device that will help him communicate with his family. Brantly has been nonverbal his whole life and has a neurological disability, his father, John, said, though doctors have so far not been able to give an exact diagnosis. That has led to limitations in the family’s insurance as far as obtaining assistive technology.

Using the gift from enTECH and Kosair Charities, Brantly is able to make gestures or point to images or buttons on the device to help express that he’s hungry, thirsty, wants to play or has another desire.

The device “has advanced our son’s quality of life by giving him a voice,” John Grienenberger wrote in his application for the program.

“It’s awesome,” John Grienenberger added on Tuesday. “We’re so happy about it. It’ll help us out a lot.”

Other families received Apple iPads that can be installed with an array of apps that are designed for children who face special challenges.

The enTECH Kosair Charities Financial Assistance Program is part of an outreach program from the enTECH Lending Library. The Lending Library provides families or individuals the opportunity to rent or be loaned pieces of assistive technology and give them a try, helping inform their decision before they make what is usually a significant purchase.

Spalding and enTECH encourage members of the public who need assistive technology to give the Lending Library a look.

“It allows families to see if a certain type of technology will benefit their child and how it can improve skills in their life and benefit the family,” Amshoff said.

Related: Find out more about the Lending Library and other enTECH services

enTECH, located at 812 S. Second St., is a division of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) and is one of five state-designated assistive technology resource centers in Kentucky. Last spring, enTECH expanded with the unveiling of the Kosair Charities Virtual Immersive Playground, a clean, open space that’s loaded with assistive technology and sensory devices that are therapeutic, entertaining and educational for children with special needs.

Related: Spalding, enTECH unveil ‘stunning’ Virtual Immersive Playground

Spalding’s graduate-level occupational therapy students use enTECH and the three-times-a-year KITE camps as a training ground for interacting with pediatric clients.

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy graduate program now offers an entry-level doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD). It is accessible to any student with a bachelor’s degree in any field.

Related: Learn more about the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy

A young boy holding a gift bag smiles while standing next to a Christmas tree, Kosair Charities President Keith Inman, enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff and Spalding Advancement Chief Bert Griffin
Kosair Charities President Keith Inman distributed assistive technology gifts to youngsters during the enTECH Lending Library celebration as Spalding Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin and enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff look on.

Spalding University’s 2018 Giving Day was its most successful ever – by a long shot.

Over 24 hours on Thursday, the university collected $31,161 in contributions, surpassing its $30,000 goal and far exceeding last year’s then-record Giving Day total of $17,465.

Giving Day focuses on encouraging donations from within Spalding’s own community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university. Money raised on Giving Day will help support student scholarships as well as capital projects, including renovations to the historic Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion and construction of the proposed athletic fields complex on South Ninth Street.

“We’re grateful to our faculty, staff, students and alumni for all the ways they support the university and its mission, and the record success of this year’s Giving Day is a testament to their pride in Spalding,” Spalding Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin said. “This money will help support students and keep Spalding moving forward.”

Giving Day is part of Spalding’s faculty and staff fundraising campaign. In 2017, 78 percent of Spalding’s faculty and staff gave back to the university.

Giving Day 2018 came on the heels of the university announcing that it had surpassed $30 million in an ongoing fundraising campaign that was launched in 2014.

More information on contributing to Spalding is available online at spalding.edu/donate.

RELATED: Purchase a commemorative brick to support the athletic fields complex

RELATED: Spalding, enTECH receive $250,000 grant from Kosair Charities

Spalding University announced Wednesday, Sept. 5, that it has reached a milestone in its ongoing, largest-ever capital fundraising campaign: surpassing $30 million in total contributions since 2014. They have supported new construction projects, facility improvements and academic and scholarship programs that broadly impact campus and student life.

The $30.4 million raised to date is a record for a Spalding campaign, and it far outpaces the original fundraising goals – $20 million by 2020 – set by the university’s board of trustees when it voted to launch the campaign four years ago. The goal was officially upped to $30 million in 2016.

“We are extremely grateful for the individuals and organizations who have stepped forward in support of our campaign and the mission and progress of Spalding,” Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin said. “We’ve made improvements all over campus and have not used any tuition dollars to make it happen.”

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure added: “Through this campaign, we have provided our students and the community with more resources and services while making our campus greener and more beautiful. We are grateful to our many partners who are helping us meet the needs of the times and change our community for the better.”

Some highlights of the $30 million capital campaign:

● Nearly $11 million in student scholarships and fieldwork stipends have been or will be distributed by way of the campaign, including more than $4 million in federal grants for clinical psychology and social work students from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

● More than $7 million has been donated or pledged in support of a greening initiative that has beautified the 23-acre downtown campus. Completed projects include the Mother Catherine Spalding Square green space on West Breckenridge Street between South Third and South Fourth and 2.2-acre Trager Park, which, in partnership with Louisville Gas and Electric Company and the Trager Family Foundation, opened last fall at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky. The Trager Park site was formerly an unused asphalt lot.

Ongoing outdoor projects are the seven-acre athletic fields complex between South Eighth and South Ninth streets that will be the home of Spalding’s NCAA Division III softball and soccer teams, and the Contemplative Garden at Spalding University, which will be a meditation space at 828 S. Fourth St. that is designed to honor Trappist Monk Thomas Merton and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Thanks to a recent anonymous $500,000 challenge grant, installation of the playing surfaces at the fields complex is expected to begin this fall, and it could be ready for competition by late spring 2019.

FROM WHAS: Spalding works to build Ninth Street ‘Field of Dreams’

● Kosair Charities has contributed more than $1.2 million to Spalding in support of the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive-technology resource center, the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the Spalding School of Nursing.

RELATED: Spalding, enTECH receive $275,000 grant from Kosair Charities

● A $500,000 challenge grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation has helped raise $1 million to develop programs focused on restorative justice and restorative practices as well as Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health.

● Nearly $1 million was raised to renovate the lower level of the Columbia Gym into a student fitness center and lounge.

● Other facilities that have undergone major improvements and modern updates are the Republic Bank Academic Center, which is the home of Spalding’s nursing and social work programs; the Spalding Library; the historic Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion; and the Egan Leadership Center Lectorium.

Spalding is working to build the fields of its dreams, and the Golden Eagles are looking for the support of Louisville’s leaders.

Louisville Metro Council representatives Rick Blackwell and Angela Leet, who are Spalding trustees, hosted fellow council members and trustees, as well as other government officials, on Thursday, March 15, for a progress update on the proposed Spalding athletic fields complex between South Eighth and South Ninth streets, about four blocks west of campus.

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure, Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin, Athletic Director Roger Burkman and architect Sabak, Wilson and Lingo gave presentations on the scope of the project, which will transform an abandoned 7.4-acre tract of asphalt into two soccer fields and one softball field for the NCAA Division III Golden Eagles.

Spalding, which announced the fields proposal in 2015 and wrapped up site preparation work last month, is making a fundraising push to get the project complete.

“From the Spalding side, obviously the project is very exciting and is more growth for Spalding,” Blackwell said. “From the city perspective, it’s really an opportunity as well. You’re taking something that was really an eye sore and turning it into something that’s a real treasure. We’re grateful for Spalding being able to do that, and hopefully we can have some city involvement as well to make it happen.”

University officials aren’t seeking public funding for the fields, but they sought Thursday to win the support of leaders to spread the word about the benefits of the project, which would create a large urban green space in the South of Broadway (SoBro) area and provide community access to high-quality sports facilities.

“When you have investment like this that happens in the community, other people are willing to start making investments,” Leet said. “As soon as you pick up something that looks like a blighted site and improve it and make it look like what it can be, others buy in and believe in that thought. They join the enthusiasm. And I believe this is the beginning of what will be.”


A true home field

The Spalding athletic fields project is seen as a game-changer, literally, for the school’s student-athletes.

The complex will provide on-campus home fields for the first time to the men’s and women’s soccer and softball teams. Lacrosse and field hockey programs could be started.

The soccer teams currently play at Champions Trace a few miles from campus and work their games and practices around the schedule of Collegiate High School, which is the primary tenant.

The softball team has moved home fields multiple times over the years and currently plays at Holy Cross High in Shively, about a 20-minute drive from Spalding. Again, the high school holds scheduling priority, so Spalding must work around it, sometimes leading to late-evening practices.

“It’s just going to help the overall student-athlete experience of the players on our team,” men’s soccer coach Adam Boyer said. “It will bring them closer to the university as a whole, to have their own facility they can call home.”

Spalding’s teams would be the primary tenants of the new fields, but the university plans to invite other school and club teams to rent them. The lighted, synthetic-turf fields would allow for year-round use. A fieldhouse with changing rooms and a concession stand is also planned.

“It’s an area (of downtown) that really kind of needs it,” Blackwell said, “and it’s really going to spur a lot of opportunities as well. Think about if you have not only Spalding activities but other activities during the summer. If you have two soccer fields, you have the opportunity to do some tournaments and have a lot of folks down here participating. That’ll spur opportunities for people to add amenities, restaurants and all kinds of other investments with it. That’s what we’re hoping for from the city side.”

Though Spalding was making its case to members of the Metro Council, the university is not asking for public money to help fund the project. McClure said the point of Thursday’s gathering was to provide information and encourage government leaders to express support for the project in their communities.

Spalding is hopeful that the city will eventually assist in safety and beautification work to the public spaces around the site, such as improving the sidewalks and street-lighting in the area.

McClure said that once Spalding raises all the money it needs, the fields could be completed in 3-4 months.

“Because we are a private university, it’s been a little more challenging to find those dollars,” said Leet, who chairs the Spalding board’s advancement committee. “So we’ve really had to work hard to find those community partners who believe in what we’re trying to accomplish here, who believe in the idea of improving the neighborhood.

“The beautiful thing of it is we have more than 20 trustees who have been on board for several years now with what we’re trying to accomplish, and they’ve been working hard to utilize their contacts and influence in their areas of expertise to try to make this happen. And I think that’s what we’re seeing here today.”

Greening initiative continues

The Spalding athletic fields complex is the latest – and largest – project in university’s greening initiative, which also included the creation of Mother Catherine Spalding Square in the center of campus in 2014 and the repurposing last fall of an abandoned asphalt lot into Trager Park at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky. (More than 100 trees are set to be planted this spring at Trager Park, a substantial addition to a neighborhood that has only a 9 percent tree canopy – below the 15 percent recommended for central business districts by American Forests.)

Like with those other greening projects, the fields complex would remove acres of impervious surfaces in SoBro and decrease the amount of stormwater that enters the city’s sewer system.

As an incentive, the Metro Sewer District has already approved about $250,000 in stipends to Spalding to complete the work, according to Sabak, Wilson and Lingo.

“There are some huge (greening) improvements that Spalding has already done. Those are really investments in the community,” said Blackwell, the president of DeSales High School who earned his master’s degree in religious studies from Spalding in 1995 and is now pursuing his doctorate of education in leadership at the school. “It makes us more believable when we talk about the (Spalding athletic fields) being a community investment because you’ve seen what Spalding has already invested in the community. This, too, will be not only for our athletes but for the community. It’s huge.”


Rendering of softball field
Rendering of softball field
Rendering of propose Spalding athletic complex fieldhouse
Rendering of fieldhouse
Rendering of overhead view of proposed Spalding athletic fields - two soccer fields and a softball field
Overhead rendering of full complex

The 10th annual Spalding Bracketology fundraiser is officially in the books. About 1,000 people were on hand Monday night, March 12, at Freedom Hall to hear Spalding’s panel of basketball experts break down the matchups for the NCAA Tournament and fill out their brackets accordingly.

The proceeds from Spalding Bracketology go toward supporting the Golden Eagles’ NCAA Division III athletic program. Thanks to everyone who came out to Spalding Bracketology and supported our student-athletes.

Monday night’s panel was: Hall of Fame Louisville coach Denny Crum, former Louisville player Luke Hancock, former Kentucky player and current radio analyst Mike Pratt, former University of Cincinnati player (and current Yum! Chief Sustainability Officer and new Spalding board member) Roger McClendon, former WNBA player Kym Hampton (who also sang a great rendition of the national anthem), WHAS television and radio host Terry Meiners and former longtime Crum assistant Jerry Jones. WHAS radio’s Tony Cruise was the host.

Here were the Final Four picks for all six Bracketologists:

Spalding student body president Chris Muncy, former Louisville coach Denny Crum, Spalding mascot pose for a picture
Legendary Louisville coach Denny Crum posed with Spalding mascot Ollie the Eagle and Student Government Association President Chris Muncy at the Spalding Bracketology fundraiser on March 12, 2018 at Freedom Hall.

Denny Crum
East: Villanova
South: Virginia
West: North Carolina
Midwest: Duke
National champ: Virginia

Luke Hancock
East: Purdue
South: Virginia
West: Gonzaga
Midwest: Kansas
National champ: Kansas

Mike Pratt
East: Purdue
South: Virginia
West: Xavier
Midwest: Michigan State
National champ: Michigan State

Roger McClendon
East: West Virginia
South: Cincinnati
West: Gonzaga
Midwest: Michigan State
National champ: Gonzaga

Kym Hampton
East: Villanova
South: Arizona
West: Gonzaga
Midwest: Michigan State
National champ: Arizona

Terry Meiners
East: West Virginia
South: Cincinnati
West: North Carolina
Midwest: Michigan State
National champ: North Carolina

Jerry Jones
East: Villanova
South: Virginia
West: Gonzaga
Midwest: Michigan State
National champ: Virginia

Joe B. Hall (not in attendance but made prediction on video)
National champ: Virginia

Big Cash Raffle winners

We auctioned off a ton of cool stuff, and we sold a ton of raffle tickets.

The big winners of the night were Chris and Jenny White, who won the $20,000 Big Cash Raffle . The Whites, who are with USA Portable Buildings in Shepherdsville and are parents of four, said they have been making plans toward building a new house and that the infusion of cash will go a long way. Congrats to them.

We also enjoyed a Facebook Live chat from the Spalding Bracketology VIP reception with Hancock, McClendon and Jefferson Family Court Judge and former U of L player Derwin Webb. Ollie the Eagle – Spalding’s new mascot – also made an appearance, and he was a fan favorite for pictures throughout the night.



Roger McClendon, Jeremy Kipness, Spalding mascot, Luke Hancock pose for picture at Spalding Bracketology
From left to right: former Cincinnati basketball star and current Spalding board member Roger McClendon, ASPIRE Academy coach Jeremy Kipness. Spalding mascot Ollie the Eagle and former Louisville player Luke Hancock at Spalding Bracketology on March 12, 2018