GIFT FOR “KERR-PEGULA SPORTS COMPLEX” SECOND LARGEST IN HOUGHTON’S HISTORY
President Shirley A. Mullen announced today that Houghton College received a letter of intent for a gift that will amount to the second largest in the college’s 128-year history. Houghton alumna Kim (Kerr ’91) Pegula and her husband Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans hockey teams, will give the $12 million gift to build a multi-sports complex on Houghton’s campus.
“This is truly a transformational gift in every sense of the word, as it will provide new athletics facilities as the college expands its sports offerings to transition into the NCAA Division III, Empire 8 conference. We sincerely thank the Kerr and Pegula families, particularly Ralph Kerr, for making this gift a reality and for their support of Houghton’s students and community,” said Houghton College President Shirley A. Mullen.
“Terry and I are very pleased to be able to give back to Houghton College where I received my education. We wish the college all the best as it begins its transition to NCAA Division III athletics. I have asked my father, Dr. Ralph Kerr, a Houghton community member, to be our personal representative on this important project,” said Kim Pegula.
Both Kim and Terry Pegula have deep roots in Western New York. Terry Pegula was born in 1951 and raised in Carbondale, Pa. and graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1973. He started working with the Getty Oil Co. in Victoria, Texas and later joined Felmont Oil Co., which brought him to Olean, N.Y. in 1975.
In 1983 Terry founded East Resources Incorporated, an independent oil and gas exploration and development company, with a $7,500 loan procured from family and friends. In 27 years Kim and Terry built it into one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. In July of 2010, Royal Dutch Shell purchased the assets of East Resources Inc. for $4.7 billion. Following the sale of East Resources they purchased the Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and the Rochester Americans (AHL) hockey teams.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Kim is a 1991 graduate of Houghton College with a degree in communications, and was involved with East Resources since her graduation from Houghton. Together they have also founded Black River Entertainment Group, a country music label based in Nashville, Tenn., and Ayrault Sports Agency based in Charlotte, N.C. Kim and Terry currently reside in Boca Raton, Fla., and have five children.
Kim’s father, Ralph Kerr, will serve as the Pegula family representative for the project. Ralph retired in 2004 after 26 years in public education, including work as superintendent of three schools in Western New York. He currently teaches in Houghton College’s P.A.C.E. program and is a member of the Western New York District Board of Administration of the Wesleyan Church. Ralph and his wife Marilyn live in Houghton, N.Y.
“This gift will provide quality fields and facilities for our new programs that will allow us to minimize missed class time and weather-related cancellations,” said Harold W. [Skip] Lord, director of intercollegiate athletics at Houghton College. “Because this will be a great place to play, it will also aid in our ability to attract top-notch student-athletes. We are very excited about the impact this will have, not only on the athletics department and college, but on Allegany County and Western New York.”
The vision and scope of the project is currently under consideration by a campus committee, who will make several recommendations to the board of trustees.
The multi-sport turf field facility will be home to the Houghton Highlander baseball, softball, field hockey and lacrosse teams. It is expected to include lighted, regulation-size fields that can also be used to enhance the intramural program. The hope is that the multipurpose field house will provide dedicated practice space for outdoor sports over the winter and during inclement weather and also serve as a hub of involvement for the campus and the surrounding communities of Northern Allegany County and Western New York.
Located an hour southeast of Buffalo and an hour southwest of Rochester on the Genesee River, Houghton provides an academically challenging, Christ-centered education in the liberal arts and sciences to students from diverse traditions and economic backgrounds and equips them to lead and labor as scholar-servants in a changing world. As part of its institutional strategic planning and visioning process for the future, Houghton College has been accepted for exploratory membership in NCAA Division III. As part of that process, Houghton has been accepted by the highly respected Empire 8 Conference.