Hundreds of Huskie supporters gathered around the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center on October 26 for its grand opening.
The state-of-the-art building provides 87,000 square feet of indoor practice space for Huskie student athletes and features a full-size 120-yard practice field with two end zones, batting cages, long-jump pits, and a four-lane sprint track.
The six-story center took only one year to build. Donors Kenneth and Ellen Chessick presented their gift in September 2011 and private fundraising, spurred by 29 leadership donor gifts, reached the $9.5 million goal during the summer.
It was the first building project by the NIU Foundation to attract three gifts of $1 million or more. Besides the Chessicks, the other million-dollar donors are Dennis and Stacey Barsema and Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon.
“NIU athletic prowess is an important element of university life, which unites the entire campus – students, faculty, administration, alums, and fans – and builds passion, loyalty, and engagement,” Dr. Kenneth Chessick said. “With this gift, we hope to enhance the experience for all NIU students and especially our dedicated student athletes.”
Chessick is a surgeon and lawyer and is chairman of the board, creator, and majority owner of Restaurant.com.
He graduated from the NIU College of Law in 1984. His NIU contributions, which extend across campus, include establishing the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Training Skills Center at the NIU College of Law and creating annual civil justice scholarships.
At the ceremony, Chessick told the crowd that it is never too late to give back to NIU.
Earlier that day, the NIU athletics department announced the resumption of the Legacy Brick Campaign, which enables community members to etch their name on a brick. The bricks will be placed in the Yordon Family Huskie Pride Plaza, which is adjacent to the Chessick Practice Center. Bricks can be purchased through April 30, 2014.
Go to NIUToday to learn more.