St. Olaf College has announced that more than 75 donors have pledged $250,000 to help preserve varsity hockey and wrestling at the institution. The pledges were made only weeks after an announcement by the college that the two sports would be dropped to club status as part of a budgeting move.
“We are delighted and overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of support from our alumni, parents and donors,” said St. Olaf President Mark U. Edwards, Jr. “Clearly, we underestimated the level of support we could gain for St. Olaf athletics.”
Edwards said when the plan was initially announced on April 8, the hope was that the two programs could be continued with the support of fundraising efforts.
The effort to raise the additional funds was spearheaded by Whitey Aus, a former hockey standout, coach and athletic director at St. Olaf.
“Whitey Aus has tremendous rapport with all St. Olaf athletes — current and past,” Edwards said. “We are truly blessed as a community to have Whitey’s dedication, commitment and skills at work for a better St. Olaf.”
The $250,000 will serve to buy time for the college to raise a $3.5 million endowment for intercollegiate athletics, a part of the college’s ongoing fund-raising efforts that is expected by the end of 2001.