From the President department heading
Illustration of John C. Bravman, President
Illustration: Joel Kimmel

from Generation to Generation

Just a few short months ago, the Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium made its debut as a graduation backdrop for Bucknell seniors — a solution that enabled greater social distancing during a pandemic than the customary Malesardi Quadrangle site could provide. This campus landmark was originally dedicated as Memorial Stadium in 1924 to commemorate all Bucknell alumni who served in any war, including the recently concluded World War I; in 1989, it was renovated and rededicated to also honor Christy Mathewson, Class of 1902, P’27.
The stadium’s iconic arched gateway was constructed as a tribute to Mathewson through donations from every Major League Baseball team and dedicated in 1928. Mathewson, who died in 1925, was one of the five original inductees in the National Baseball Hall of Fame — alongside Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth.

New Bucknellians traditionally process through the Christy Mathewson Gates when they arrive for their first semester, and though I’m writing this in early August as COVID-19 flares again, I fully expect that by the time you receive this magazine, our fall classes will be well underway and held in person.

In the midst of COVID-19, when so many families are struggling, a Bucknell family, led by Michael Pascucci ’58, P’81, P’87, G’21, G’22, has stepped up in a significant way to support the University’s most pressing needs — financial aid and access. His $40 million pledge — the largest one-time financial commitment in the University’s history — allocates $30 million for financial aid, Bucknell’s top fundraising priority, and $10 million for athletics.

Although Michael, a former high school football player and owner of the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., among other entities, is clearly a sports aficionado, the portion of his pledge that resonates most for him is the $30 million designated for financial aid.

A first-generation college student, Michael has long been interested in and committed to providing access to Bucknell, having started an endowed scholarship long ago. The new commitment has greatly amplified his original intent and will support an un-restricted, need-based financial-aid endowment through the Pascucci Family Scholarship.

The athletics portion is already being employed to improve the area around the stadium. This summer, we installed a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. A new team center and turf practice field for eight men’s and women’s teams will follow. While several other donors have pitched in, Michael is the greatest contributor to the stadium-area project.

Fittingly, the area of campus that includes Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium and the gates will be named the Pascucci Family Athletics Complex to recognize the generosity of Michael and his family, which includes four fellow Bucknellians: sons Michael ’81 and Ralph ’87, P’21, and grandsons Maclain ’21 and Joey ’22.

The Pascuccis have joined a select circle of multigenerational Bucknell families who have expressed their belief in the University by generously funding programs, scholarships and building construction.

These include the Mathieson-Garrity family, whose long legacy began with Andrew Mathieson, Class of 1920, H’62, P’50, G’77, G’83, G’83, GG’16 and continues with his descendants, which include Norm Garrity ’63, M’64, P’87, P’90, P’94, G’15.

Having a similarly profound impact for nearly 100 years is the Freas-Trout family, which started its philanthropy with Bucknell Trustee Guy Freas H’57, P’48, P’50, G’74 and continues to the present day with his daughter, Leanne Freas Trout ’50, P’74, G’99, G’01, G’06, and her descendants. Another legacy family was led by Robert L. Rooke, Class of 1913, and continues a century later with Schuyler Rooke ’12 and Thomas Rooke ’06.

The three-generation Pascucci family, with the forever endowment they have created, will benefit Bucknell students for the next century. In Bucknell’s 175th year, we could not have better news to celebrate.

Copy of John C. Bravman signature

John C. Bravman