Stony Brook University Announces Lead Gift from Major League Baseball All-Star And SBU Alumnus, Joe Nathan
Aug. 11, 2008
Stony Brook, N.Y. - All-Star closer for the Minnesota Twins and former Seawolves baseball standout, Joe Nathan (BS '97), is making a $500,000 lead gift to the Department of Athletics in support of the construction of a new baseball field at Stony Brook University announced University President Shirley Strum Kenny and Director of Athletics Jim Fiore. In recognition of the gift from the Joe Nathan Charitable Foundation (www.joenathan.com), the State University of New York has approved that the new field will be named "Joe Nathan Field." Among other enhancements, the project will include a dramatic transformation of the field from grass to FieldTurf®.
A three-time All-Star selection, Nathan is currently tied for fourth in the Major Leagues with 34 saves, posting a 1.12 ERA in 48.1 innings of work. Since taking over as Minnesota's closer in 2004, Nathan ranks second among all Major League closers with 191 saves -- trailing only the Padres' Trevor Hoffman. He has a career record of 43-18 with a 2.85 ERA, striking out 606 batters in 597.0 innings of work.
While playing with the Stony Brook University Seawolves, Nathan was a two-time Academic All-American and was also inducted into the Stony Brook Athletics Hall of Fame in December 2006, when he also became the first former Stony Brook student-athlete to have his jersey number retired.
Joe Nathan Field will become the new home of a Stony Brook team that has become one of the top programs in the America East Conference. Under head coach Matt Senk, the Seawolves have won the America East title and represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament twice in the past five years, including the 2008 season. The squad's 34-26 record in 2008 was the fifth time in nine seasons of Division I play that the team has reached 30 wins in a season.
"Joe Nathan's generosity and leadership in making this wonderful gift underscores the importance of the spirit of philanthropy that is growing among our alumni," said Fiore. "As much as Joe was a talented collegiate athlete and a high achiever as a student; more importantly he is a remarkable human being. We are very proud of Joe and are thrilled to name our baseball field in his honor. It will serve as a lasting tribute to his continued love for his experience as a Stony Brook student-athlete."
"My experiences as a part of the Stony Brook athletics family helped get me to where I am today," remarked Nathan. "I feel extremely fortunate to be playing baseball as a professional athlete and feel strongly about supporting the growth of the Stony Brook baseball program. Coach (Matt) Senk has built an extremely successful program; one with which I'm very proud to be affiliated. I look forward to following and supporting our baseball program to even greater success in the years to come."
"Joe's support of our baseball program is greatly appreciated," added Senk. "Joe embodies all the core values we try to instill in our student-athletes; commitment, passion, pride, respect and swagger. Current and future Stony Brook baseball student-athletes will benefit from playing in a facility which Joe's gift will help build. Future Stony Brook recruits will be able to look forward to playing in one of the finest facilities in the northeast."
"Joe Nathan's lead gift in our efforts to renovate our campus baseball facility is another example of the incredible strength of Stony Brook's alumni," said University President Shirley Strum Kenny. "We will soon surpass our $300-million capital campaign goal and gifts like this, from those who value Stony Brook for its ability to transform lives, are the reason we will reach our lofty goals. Alumni like Joe have set their own personal goals at the highest levels, and it is my pleasure to share in their great achievements."
"Congratulations to Joe Nathan on his great successes while at Stony Brook as a student-athlete and as an all-star pitcher for the Minnesota Twins," said Richard Nasti, Chair of the Stony Brook Council. "His decision to share those successes with his alma mater, and for the University to name the field in his honor, is a cherished opportunity. I congratulate President Kenny, Director of Athletics Jim Fiore and Head Coach Matt Senk for sharing in this vision with Joe and helping to create a great opportunity for current and future baseball student-athletes at Stony Brook."