Berry College officials announced the name of the planned football stadium Thursday as well as a significant donation by an alumnus and longtime supporter.
Indianapolis entrepreneur Steve Cage, the major benefactor of the Berry College Cage Center, has pledged $2.5 million to kick off fundraising for the football facility and christened the stadium "Valhalla," after the Great Hall of Viking warriors in Norse mythology.
Cage, a Berry Board of Trustees member and 1974 alumnus, said he is excited to be a part of forming a new tradition at Berry.
"Valhalla will be a gathering place to cheer on our student-athletes and it will help increase the vibrancy on campus as well," Cage said. "The Cage Center helped transform the campus by providing recreational and educational opportunities. I look forward to the creation of a festive and spirited atmosphere surrounding football, lacrosse, track and field and intramurals."
Berry President Steve Briggs commended Cage's vision and commitment to Berry across all areas from athletics to academics. Since 2004, The Steven J. Cage Endowed Scholarship has paid full tuition each year for two juniors and two seniors from the Campbell School of Business.
The proposed stadium structure will seat 1,200, including concessions, game-day and track and field locker rooms, and state-of-the-art viewing and press boxes. It will be enhanced by a grassy picnic-style, terraced-seating area on the opposite sideline.
The stadium will feature the Viking blue tinted Clark Track. Bert Clark, a generous supporter of Berry, is a Berry Board of Trustees member and 1982 alumnus. Clark and fellow trustee Roger Lusby, a 1979 Berry graduate, have combined their commitments to the track to match all future gifts to the project.
"As we move forward in our plan to bring football and track and field to Berry, these alumni have stepped forward in such a wonderful way. We are grateful to our Board of Trustees for their vision and commitment to Berry," Dr. Briggs said.
In addition to Valhalla, the project includes renovation of Richards Gymnasium into a field house with weight room, nearby practice field, and locker rooms for football, lacrosse, and tennis along with associated athletic offices.
Excitement is building as Berry looks forward to its first football season in the fall of 2013. The Vikings schedule includes Southern Athletic Association rivals Centre College, Birmingham-Southern College and Sewanee: The University of the South.