Feb. 15, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana University will name its new baseball facility Bart Kaufman Field in honor of a major gift to IU Athletics from Bart Kaufman, a former IU baseball student-athlete and chairman and CEO of Indianapolis-area Kaufman Financial Corp.
Kaufman will be honored for his generous support at halftime during the IU men's basketball game vs. Northwestern today, Feb. 15. (Tip off is at 6:30 p.m.)
"Indiana University is deeply grateful to alumnus Bart Kaufman for his generosity toward the development of a new baseball facility and his support of our mission to provide IU's student-athletes with the resources they need to compete at the highest level," IU President Michael McRobbie said. "The new Bart Kaufman Field promises to significantly strengthen our baseball program at it seeks to build upon strong recent performances, while also greatly enhancing the fan experience at the ballpark."
"Bart, like his father before him, has been a welcome contributor of sage counsel and financial resources to Indiana University Athletics for many years, and this major donation is the cherry on the sundae," said Fred Glass, IU vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics. "We are thrilled to name the new baseball facility in his honor, which is particularly appropriate given his status as a two-time All Big Ten IU baseball player."
In August 2011, the IU Board of Trustees approved construction of a new baseball and softball complex to be located on the north edge of the IU Bloomington athletics campus near the State Road 45/46 Bypass. Private donations and athletic department funds will fund the project. The IU Foundation will invest and administer Kaufman's gift. Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects of Indianapolis has designed the complex.
Highlights of the new stadium include new locker rooms and dugouts, indoor/outdoor hitting cages, a turf field, a press box, a scoreboard, a lighting and sound system, and hospitality suites. The complex will also feature ample parking, an entry plaza, a picnic area, concessions and restrooms for fans.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring with completion scheduled in time for the 2013 season. The new $19.8 million complex will replace Sembower Field and the IU Softball Field, which are on Fee Lane adjacent to Foster Residence Center.
"With the advent of vastly improved high school baseball programs and significantly improved summer baseball programs for youngsters, there are more students who can be competitive in college baseball," Kaufman said. "With coach (Tracy) Smith and his staff, IU is now in a position with improved facilities to be a factor in college baseball."
Originally from Shelbyville, Ind., Kaufman played on IU's baseball team in 1961 and 1962, earning All Big Ten honors twice, and was the second leading hitter in the Big Ten in 1961. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in insurance from the IU Kelley School of Business in 1962 and a law degree from the IU Maurer School of Law in 1965.
Following graduation, Kaufman joined his father in wealth transfer planning. For over seven decades, Kaufman Financial Corp. has specialized in life insurance, providing advice to families and businesses throughout the United States.
"My father, Nate Kaufman, was instrumental in instilling in me the logic of supporting charities in general and IU in particular," Kaufman said. "My father was contributing money to IU Athletics in the '40s, and it seemed natural for me after I graduated from the IU Bloomington law school to make gifts of my own. If I want IU to attain its greatest potential, and I do, it is necessary for those of us who have enjoyed a modicum of financial success to give generously to IU. Indiana University is one of the great universities in the United States, and I am happy in my small way to help."
Kaufman has been a loyal supporter of the IU Varsity Club for over 48 years and a 52-year season ticket holder in both football and men's basketball. Kaufman, his wife, Judy, and their four children are all IU graduates.
"We're incredibly grateful to Mr. Kaufman for helping to fund such an extraordinary facility," said head baseball coach Tracy Smith. "The stadium represents the future of our program, but also the past and those who worked to make this a reality.
"Bloomington's mild winters make IU the best place in the Big Ten to play baseball," Smith added. "With this facility and our climate, it will allow us to prepare for our season in a professional atmosphere, more representative of big-time college baseball in the Big Ten Conference. We can't wait for Hoosier fans to see us play at Kaufman Field."
IU baseball has produced three All-Americans and five Freshman All-Americans in the past four seasons alone. Smith led the Hoosiers to a Big Ten Tournament Championship and subsequent NCAA Regionals appearance in 2009. Alex Dickerson won the conference's Triple Crown that season and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, while Eric Arnett earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. Twenty-two former IU student-athletes have gone on to careers in Major League Baseball.
For more information on the baseball and softball complex, contact Kelly Bomba, Indiana University Varsity Club, at 812-855-0319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.