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Athletics Program Receives $10 Million

UAlbany's stadium will be named in honor of Tom & Mary Casey

The Tom & Mary Casey Stadium is inaugurated. (Photo by Mike Nolan)

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 8, 2015) -- University at Albany President Robert J. Jones and Foundation President George R. Hearst III today announced that the University has received a $10 million gift to support the football stadium and other facilities, expand scholarships for student-athletes, and address additional priorities in athletics.

The gift was made by The Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation, which was established by the son of Bernard and Millie Duker, William Duker ’75, of Westerlo and New York City, his wife Sharon (Casey) Duker, and their son William "West" Duker. The stadium will be named Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, in honor of Sharon (Casey) Duker’s parents.

"This gift reflects the wonderful values Tom and Mary Casey instilled in their children about the importance of education and service to community,” said University at Albany President Robert J. Jones. “We are deeply grateful to the Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation for this investment, which will have a positive impact on our athletics programs, our student-athletes, and the UAlbany experience for many years to come.”

UAlbany Foundation President George R. Hearst III said, "Tom & Mary Casey Stadium is a treasure for the University and the entire Capital Region. This remarkable and generous gift will open doors for student-athletes hoping to attend UAlbany, and will ensure that this University and community can be proud of this stadium for years to come. But this gift is much more -- it is validation of the excellence of a UAlbany education."

New York State Senator Neil Breslin said, "Partnering with the University at Albany in 2010, I was able to help secure $10 million in funding for their new state-of-the art Athletic Sports Complex. Now, through this generous and significant gift, our region will be able to enjoy a top-notch community facility, the Tom and Mary Casey Stadium, and more students will be able to attend this great university through scholarships. I speak for the whole Capital Region when I extend my thanks and sincere appreciation to the Casey and Duker families.”

The Casey family has a long legacy at UAlbany. Tom and Mary’s son, Thomas Casey, is a member of the Class of 1978 and their daughter Melissa (Casey) Faas has a graduate degree from the Class of 2001. One grandchild, Meghan (Casey) Wilkinson, has a Bachelor’s degree from the Class of 2009, while grandson Michael Faas is currently a UAlbany freshman.

"Our parents passed down enduring family values," said siblings Thomas Casey ‘78, Sharon (Casey) Duker, and Melissa (Casey) Faas ’01. "We wanted this gift to represent those values and strong sense of community as well as their appreciation for academics and athletics, which they impressed upon all of us. We are pleased to support UAlbany’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence and proud to see our parents’ names attached to a great facility that is a valuable University and community resource. "

The stadium was completed in September 2013 as part of the University’s new multi-sport complex. Designed as a source of pride for the campus community, the region, and UAlbany’s 169,000 alumni, it was funded through the New York State legislature and private support. The stadium’s opening marked a signature moment for UAlbany athletics as its football program entered the Colonial Athletics Association (CAA), one of the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) conferences.

The 8,500-seat facility features a scoreboard with a high-definition video display and point-source sound system behind the south end zone. In 2013, the stadium’s field was named in honor of Bob Ford, who served as head coach of UAlbany’s football team for 44 years, shepherding the program from its inception to its admission into CAA. The field will now be known as Bob Ford Field at Casey Stadium.

"Our mission is to provide our student-athletes with a world class collegiate experience that starts with nationally ranked academic programs; continues with our championship coaches, administrators, staff and is complemented by our first class facilities." said UAlbany Athletics Director Mark Benson. "This transformational gift will enable us to improve that student-athlete experience for many years to come. The Casey and Duker families share our vision for the future of our athletic program and we offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for their generosity and valued commitment to the University."

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.