Lead Gift Launches Hawkins Field Enhancements

Anonymous baseball alumnus’ matching pledge challenges fellow alumni to lead the way in reimagination of Vanderbilt baseball home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt University announced Tuesday an opportunity for former Vanderbilt baseball student-athletes to take the lead in shaping the future of Hawkins Field. An anonymous Vandy baseball alumnus and his alumna spouse will match all qualifying gifts and pledges by other baseball alumni, up to $10 million.

With this significant lead gift, the donors hope to challenge baseball alumni and inspire all supporters to join them in ushering in the next era for the iconic home of the two-time national champions.

“I’m tremendously grateful to these alumni for their generous lead gift,” said Candice Storey Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director. “Vandy United and the Dare to Grow campaign are rooted in the idea that by coming together, we multiply our individual potential. Every season, Coach Corbin and the VandyBoys embody this simple truth in pursuit of excellence—such as this past season’s SEC Tournament championship. It’s only fitting that we begin our ambitious Hawkins Field initiative with Vanderbilt baseball alumni from across the years coming together to lead the way and build an even brighter future.”

A cornerstone of the Vandy United campaign’s Dare to Grow phase, this matching pledge launches the ambitious renovations and enhancements planned for Hawkins Field.

“I applaud our alumni for leading the way in transforming Hawkins Field,” Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “Vanderbilt is committed to the lifelong realization of human potential through a bold collaborative model. Across the Dare to Grow campaign, alumni are embracing our cooperative spirit and supporting the schools, programs and teams that helped them grow. The uncommon loyalty of our baseball alumni is further proof that the VandyBoys are a blueprint for what is possible at Vanderbilt and for collegiate athletics in the 21st century.”

Earlier this summer, Vanderbilt revealed renderings for enhancements that include creating extensive premium seating opportunities, expanding capacity and reimagining the game day experience for supporters of one of college baseball’s most successful programs. The initiative maintains and celebrates the stadium’s role as a hub of the Frist Athletics Village—in the best spirit of neighborhood ballparks such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

The VandyBoys represent a standard of excellence in college baseball. Under head coach Tim Corbin during the Hawkins Field era, 22 VandyBoys have been selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. Vanderbilt is also the only school to produce two No. 1 overall picks this century. And this past July, three-time All-American Enrique Bradfield Jr. was selected in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles, one of seven student-athletes chosen in the draft. Ten former student-athletes appeared on either MLB Opening Day rosters or injured lists this year, tied for the most among SEC schools, and 17 former VandyBoys appeared in MLB last season.

Embodying Vanderbilt’s fully integrated approach to athletics, which sees competition and teamwork as vital means of fostering lifelong learning and growth, the VandyBoys forge lasting bonds. Vanderbilt baseball alumni have a rich history of supporting those who follow in their footsteps. In 2016, David Price’s capstone gift helped make possible a major baseball facilities project that greatly enhanced training tools available to current student-athletes, as well as creating space for former student-athletes to return, train and mentor. In all, 70 percent of Corbin’s former student-athletes contributed to the campaign.

“Our alumni are responsible for building this program and creating not just great memories but a legacy of love,” Corbin said. “Every Vanderbilt baseball alumnus is always welcome at Hawkins Field because whether or not they played there, and whether or not they played for me, they shaped us. I’m tremendously grateful for this generous gift and to every former player who gives back to our program in any form. We’re a family that takes care of each other.”

Similarly emblematic of the One Vanderbilt spirit, the donors’ previous giving has made an impact in the College of Arts and Science and beyond through support for undergraduate scholarships, research, academic priorities and faculty fellowships.

For more information on Vandy United, including Hawkins Field enhancements, please visit vucommodores.com/vandyunited. Former baseball student-athletes interested in participating in this pledge challenge and supporting the project will receive additional information and are invited to contact Mark Carter and the National Commodore Club staff at 615-322-4114 or ncc@vanderbilt.edu. As ever, all VandyBoys supporters are welcome to contribute to the Hawkins Field project, but only baseball alumni donations will be matched in this challenge.

About Hawkins Field
Named in honor of the late Charles S. Hawkins, a member of the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame and former All-SEC pitcher, Hawkins Field opened in 2002 on the location of the team’s former home and adjacent to Memorial Gymnasium and FirstBank Stadium.

About the Dare to Grow Campaign
Launched in Vanderbilt’s 150th year, Dare to Grow is a $3.2 billion comprehensive campaign, the most ambitious in university history. The campaign will succeed through three essential pathways—Destination Vanderbilt, Discovery Vanderbilt and One Vanderbilt—and by furthering the culture of belonging, innovation and collaboration that defines the Vanderbilt Way. Learn more at vu.edu/daretogrow.