Nicoson Hall upgrade; Champions Challenge update

 

Skillman gift funds Nicoson Hall upgrade

Nicoson-floorThe University of Indianapolis basketball teams—including a men’s squad ranked #1 in the nation for a time this season—soon will enjoy a renovated home, thanks to the generosity of a local businessman and philanthropist. Ray Skillman Auto Group pledged $500,000 to replace the floor and install more efficient LED lighting in UIndy’s 4,000-seat Nicoson Hall, home to the Greyhounds since 1960. Skillman joined UIndy President Robert Manuel on January 15 to announce the gift at halftime of the men’s victory over Bellarmine University. In recognition of the gift, the competition floor will be dubbed “Skillman Court,” with a dedication ceremony taking place at Homecoming this fall. In recent years, Ray Skillman Auto Group has provided more than $3 million to support schools, parks, food banks, youth sports, and other charities, particularly on Indianapolis’s south side. Skillman is one of the nation’s Top 100 dealers, with 17 franchises in 13 central Indiana locations.

“The University of Indianapolis is a vital anchor in the community where we do business,” Skillman said. “We greatly admire the University’s dedication to its students and their families, and we’re delighted to partner with an institution that prepares new leaders for our city, state, and nation.” Nicoson Hall, considered one of the top Division II basketball venues in the region, has hosted training camps for the Indiana Pacers and practice sessions for their NBA foes, as well as practices for Final Four and Big Ten Tournament competitors. The building is named for the late Angus Nicoson, longtime athletic director and basketball coach.

Champions Challenge adds muscle to Greyhound athletics

Golf-teamAlready known for athletic as well as academic excellence, the UIndy Greyhounds seek to cement their status among the elite of NCAA Division II. The goal is to earn the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup and produce national championships (see pp. 44–45). Thus, the one-year Champions Challenge campaign was announced last summer in order to generate funding for programs and capital improvements in the Department of Athletics. An anonymous donor pledged $250,000 toward a matching gift program. The campaign included UIndy’s own student-athletes, 100 percent of whom pledged a commitment. The initial goal was met this spring, and a new goal of $275,000 was announced.  The funds will address a variety of needs. “Our student-athletes have performed extremely well in competition and in the classroom, and they deserve the best experience we can provide for them,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sue Willey, herself a Greyhound Hall of Fame athlete who was named Under Armour Division II Athletic Director of the Year in 2012–13. And right on cue, the women’s golf team captured UIndy’s first team athletics championship in May (pictured). For the fourth straight year, UIndy led the Great Lakes Valley Conference and claimed the GLVC All-Sports Trophy, awarded for best all-around performance in the league’s 20 sponsored sports. Five teams captured conference titles, including football, men’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s outdoor track and field, and women’s golf. UIndy offers 21 men’s and women’s sports; in 2015–16, the number will grow, thanks to the addition of Indiana’s first D-II men’s and women’s lacrosse program.