Princeton University

Princeton Weekly Bulletin   December 4, 2006, Vol. 96, No. 11   prev   next   current

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Powers’ $10.5 million gift will be largest ever to Princeton athletics

Princeton NJ — Investor and 1979 alumnus William C. Powers is making a $10 million gift to Princeton’s football program, which is the largest donation ever to Princeton athletics. In honor of Powers and his family, the University will name Princeton Stadium’s game field “Powers Field.” Additionally, Powers will give $500,000 to establish two scholarships to support the University’s need-based financial aid program.

Powers’ gift to Princeton athletics has already funded a new, state-of-the-art playing surface for the stadium field and will fund the renovation of the two practice fields east of Princeton Stadium. The gift also creates two endowments for the benefit of Princeton athletics — the first will support maintenance for all three fields, and the second will provide significant operating support for the football program. Powers Field will be dedicated in 2007 at the Nov. 10 home game versus Yale.

Powers’ gift has allowed Princeton to become the first Ivy League school to make the switch from grass to the artificial turf known as FieldTurf, according to Director of Athletics Gary Walters.

“Bill Powers has been an enthusiastic supporter of Princeton and our athletic programs for many years,” said President Tilghman. “His exceptionally generous gift embraces the facilities and the programs that our athletes need to compete effectively as well as the financial aid program that opens Princeton’s doors to so many gifted students.”

Powers said, “I hope that this gift will inspire current and future Princeton athletes to strive for excellence, thus reinforcing the University’s commitment to the student-athlete experience that imparts the critical values of leadership, teamwork, competition and character, including managing adversity and failure as well as success. It is my further hope that this gift will assist Princeton in attracting the most highly qualified and talented student-athletes, and that these facilities and resources will enable Princeton’s athletes to perform to the best of their abilities. Finally, I hope this contribution will inspire among its beneficiaries their own philosophy of giving, and that it may lead other alumni, parents and friends to consider sharing their good fortune with Princeton and other outstanding organizations.”

Powers achieved many accolades as a defensive back and an All-Ivy punter at Princeton — he was the winner of Princeton’s Charles W. Caldwell Memorial Trophy in 1978, awarded annually to the senior member of the varsity football team who demonstrates the greatest improvement in football. He ranks fourth in Princeton football for most punts in a career, none of which were ever blocked. In addition, Powers’ 70-yard punt late in the fourth quarter thwarted a Harvard comeback in a 20-7 Princeton win in 1977 in Cambridge that handed the Crimson their first Ivy loss and remains one of the great Tiger wins in the rivalry. Powers played with his brother, David N. Powers, a 1978 alumnus, who started at the position of free safety and as a punt returner for the Tigers.

Powers’ gift has allowed Princeton to become the first Ivy League school to make the switch from grass to the artificial turf known as FieldTurf. According to Director of Athletics Gary Walters, this surface has significantly enhanced the Department of Athletics’ ability to schedule practices. In addition to its use by the football team, the new field is also being used daily by programs such as men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse, baseball, sprint football and rugby.

“Bill’s gift will not only tangibly benefit the experience of our football players and many other student-athletes at Princeton, but it also vividly acknowledges the significant role that football played in Bill’s educational and career development,” said Walters.

Powers is a managing director and a senior member of the portfolio management and investment strategy groups of the Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), based in Newport Beach, Calif. He has been an active volunteer on behalf of Princeton whose roles have ranged from service to annual giving to membership on the Advisory Committee of the Princeton Varsity Club and as a local Alumni Schools Committee volunteer. He also sponsored the Princeton Band’s trip to San Diego to support the Tigers’ victory in their only West Coast appearance in 2004.


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