Press Release for Friday, October 7, 2005

George and Kernan Hodges Donate $2 Million to UNF: Soccer/Track Stadium Will Provide Enhanced Educat

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida announced today that longtime benefactors George and Kernan Hodges generously donated $2 million to the University for facility enhancements of the UNF Soccer and Track Stadium, which will be renamed the Hodges Stadium. The donation will be matched by the State at 100 percent, bringing the total to $4 million.

“From the very beginning, the Hodges family has been instrumental in the development of UNF and has played a prominent role in its growth,” said UNF President John A. Delaney. “Naming the stadium in honor of George and Kernan Hodges is an ideal way to recognize their legacy of generosity.”

The Hodges’ gift is one of the largest private contributions to the University in its 34-year history. The funds will be used for indoor as well as outdoor stadium enhancements that will provide exceptional educational and athletic opportunities for UNF students and the community.

“The Hodges family has had strong ties to UNF from its very beginning over 30 years ago. We are pleased to have this fine educational facility and soccer stadium named in our honor,” said George Hodges.

The stadium currently houses the Arthur “Buster” Browning Athletic Training and Education Cente and the Cerebral Palsy of Northeast Florida lab, which provides classrooms for a variety of athletic training and physical therapy courses.

The funds also will be used to build an eight-lane, 400-meter competition track, allowing UNF the ability to teach outdoor academic courses like personal training in physical education sports, weight training/conditioning as well as teaching individual/dual sports. The funding will also permit the University to be a venue for international and national competitions. Seating for about 10,000 people will also be installed, along with TV-quality stadium lighting for evening events. These stadium enhancements will allow UNF to host outdoor lectures, concerts, graduations and sports/cultural events in addition to boosting the University’s own athletic, fitness and recreational opportunities.

Upon completion, the Hodges Stadium will be one of the five largest dedicated collegiate soccer stadiums in the country. Construction is expected to begin spring of 2007 and is projected to be completed by spring of 2008.