The real measure of a university comes from looking at how its graduates have applied what they learned to change the world around them.It was with that belief that William and Carol Koester decided they wanted to make a contribution to The University of Toledo that would permanently alter its landscape and simultaneously honor UT alumni who are changing the world.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, just west of the Glass Bowl, UT will dedicate its new Koester Alumni Pavilion, designed by SSOE Group.
The outside of the pavilion area will hold plaques recognizing Gold T, Blue T and Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alumni award recipients, past Alumni Association presidents, and outstanding chapters, affiliates and volunteers. The pavilion will be outfitted with food and beverage stations, as well as a sound system.
“Carol and I saw this pavilion as an opportunity to honor University of Toledo alumni: People who represent the legacy of this institution and demonstrate the success of its educational mission,” said Koester, who is entering his final year on UT’s Board of Trustees and is serving as board chair. “We both went to school at UT and just love the place. We wanted to give something back.”
In addition to Koester’s gift, SSOE Group, a global engineering, procurement and construction management firm headquartered in Toledo, has made an in-kind contribution to donate the architectural design along with all engineering for the pavilion and entry complex. In total, the 13,000-square-foot $1.1 million pavilion and plaza has been built with no taxpayer money.
“Our initial plan was to raise money this year and construct the pavilion next year,” said Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president for alumni relations. “But because of the generosity of the Koesters, of SSOE and of so many alumni, we plan to be up and running for the Sept. 15 game versus Bowling Green.”
Tony Damon, president and CEO of the SSOE Group, congratulated UT on this successful project.
“SSOE has been a proud supporter of The University of Toledo since our founding in 1948,” Damon said. “Our remarkable partnership with the University was built on the legacy of our founder Al Samborn, a 1939 UT alumnus, whose professionalism and commitment to engineering education was exemplified by his many years teaching at UT.
“That cooperation continues today as SSOE is one of the largest employers of the University’s engineering students and graduates. Our $94,000 contribution to this project was yet another way for SSOE to show our continued support and gratitude, and when combined with other giving caps a five-year program of donations in excess of $700,000.”
The pavilion sits on a large plaza, named in honor of Chuck and Jackie Sullivan and comprised of hundreds of bricks donated by UT alumni and friends. Additionally, the Pavilion’s Rocket Station is named in honor of the UT Women & Philanthropy organization. Eighteen named pillars will support the structure, and 13 named benches will ring the plaza’s exterior.
In all, more than 100 alumni, organizations and friends of the University have donated $1,000 or more to the effort, Saevig said, and thousands more have contributed.
All are welcome to attend the dedication but are required to RSVP due to an expected large turnout.
To RSVP, contact the Office of Special Events at 419.530.2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parking for the event will be available north and south of the Glass Bowl in lots 9 and 10, which will close Thursday at 6:45 a.m. for the event.