Nittany Lion Softball Park formally dedicated

April 11, 2011

University Park, Pa. — A standing room crowd in excess of 300 attended the formal dedication of Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field on Friday (April 8) afternoon. Penn State President Graham Spanier, Director of Athletics Tim Curley, Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Garban, head coach Robin Petrini and lead benefactors Lee and Bill Beard were on hand and spoke prior to anointing the state-of-the-art $10.2 million softball-specific facility.

"It's great to see this wonderful turnout," Curley said. "This facility is long overdue. This is a special day for Intercollegiate Athletics, especially for the softball program. This is a dream come true for so many people."

Curley served as emcee for the event, which featured donors, student-athletes, coaches, team personnel, family members and Penn State softball alumnae, who were honored during the event. The facility was unveiled prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony with tours presented by Penn State softball student-athletes. Guests had the opportunity to view the three-story, 17,500 square foot facility, which opened to rave reviews two weeks ago in a Nittany Lion sweep of Wisconsin on March 26-27.

Curley introduced Spanier, whose remarks were greeted with plenty of laughter and light-heartedness, a decidedly appropriate reaction on such a joyous occasion. Spanier thanked each donor to the project and all those associated with Nittany Lion Softball Park, while touting many of the facility's unique features.

"[Nittany Lion Softball Park] will be a model of sustainability and environmentally friendly design," Spanier noted. "It will earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, which is the gold standard in green design. Medlar Field at Lubrano Park was the first LEED-certified baseball stadium in the country, and I'm proud that our softball park will follow this responsible tradition.

"I want to extend special thanks to Bill and Lee Beard, whose philanthropy and leadership inspired others to help make this project a reality. I also want to thank George and Fran Vanden for their enthusiasm and the momentum their gift provided."

Spanier also recognized the Stine family as well as Art and Paige Nagle, who couldn't attend the ceremony. Both parties contributed to the park's formation with generous donations.

Spanier gave way to Garban, one of many Board of Trustees members on hand for the dedication, who noted his admiration for Curley and the softball program.

"We've had many of the firsts in the stadium already take place: the first hit, the first win and the first home run," Garban noted, referencing the Wisconsin series. "It was only fitting that the first postponed game due to weather was against Buffalo."

Garban introduced Lee Beard, whose $500,000 gift with her husband Bill in Oct. 2009 led to the construction of the park.

"Bill and I are both very pleased to be a small part of this very impressive facility," Lee Beard said. "For us, the decision to give to this facility, to this program, was easy because one of our big passions is certainly the students of this university, but in particular the softball program. Our passion to help the softball program is because we've watched this program grow.

"There are some common links to this group [of donors]: Fran and George [Vanden], the Stine Family, Peter and Ann Nagle, Bill and I all have in common a link in believing that this is a program that deserves the typical Penn State, first-class facility to be successful."

Lee Beard went on to welcome head coach Robin Petrini to the dais. The 15th-year coach noted the changes from the old Nittany Lion Field to the new ballpark and the process of getting the stadium built despite many setbacks throughout the years.

"Well isn't it a beautiful facility?" Petrini greeted the audience. "When everybody was walking through, it just takes your breath away... I can't wait for Indiana to come in because they [played] in the old facility so they will appreciate the new facility. As other Big Ten colleagues come in they're going to be dropping their jaws, looking at me like 'You better never leave here.' And I have no intention of going anywhere!"

Lastly, senior outfielder Mary Ostman (Northbrook, Ill.) took the stage as the team's representative thanking the Beards for their continued support, as well as the fans, boosters and other supporters of the softball program. Afterwards, the entire team met Spanier, Garban and the project benefactors for an official ribbon cutting to formally inaugurate the brand new stadium to tremendous applause.

  • Nittany Lion Softball Park was formally dedicated on Friday, April 8. Click on the image above for more photos from the dedication.

    IMAGE: Annemarie Mountz

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 15, 2011