Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 2, Page 8
Winter 1993
A Gift to Delaware

"Come inside and see the stars." So reads the logo for the University of
Delaware's magnificent new facility, the Bob Carpenter Sports/Convocation

     What visitors to this state-of-the-art building may not realize is
that the athletes who play on its floor and the performers who appear on
its stage are not the only stars the center has to boast about.  The others
may be unseen, but their contributions are much in evidence. They are the
generous donors, whose gifts, both large and small, have helped turn a
$20.5-million vision into a reality.
     More than 1,500 gifts have been made thus far to a fund-raising
campaign that has garnered more than $6.8 million, and those donations have
ranged from $1 to $1 million.
     The fund-raising campaign, which began in January 1990, was marked by
a memorable moment on Oct. 20, 1992, when University President David P.
Roselle announced the largest gift from a single donor-$1 million from
Greenville business executive and real estate developer Frank E. Acierno,
whose association with the University spans three decades.
     The Carpenter Center's arena is now named in Acierno's honor, in
recognition of his generosity.
     In addition to individual contributions, many corporations and small
businesses also contributed to the campaign. For example, the MBNA America
Concourse at the center was funded by a $325,000 gift from the Newark-based
company, a dedicated financial supporter of the University since 1982, when
the corporation moved to Delaware. With this latest gift, MBNA President
Charles Cawley acknowledged his organization's indebtedness to and respect
for the University, which, to date, has supplied the company with more than
1,500 new employees.
     Foundations also have played an important role in the campaign's
success. Last summer, the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., an independent,
private foundation unaffiliated with any corporation or organization,
presented a $350,000 challenge grant to the University, creating an
incentive for alumni donors to give.
     In addition, staff and trustees at the University also made
substantial contributions to the center effort, and the University's
private fund-raising efforts were complemented by a $12 million
contribution from the state.
     The generosity and commitment to the University evidenced by these
gifts most fittingly reflect the character of the late R. R. M. Carpenter
Jr., the longtime trustee and University benefactor for whom the center is
     Bob Carpenter (1915-1990) was a sports enthusiast, from his years as a
football player at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, through his
letter-winning performance on the Duke football squad, and on to his years
as president of the Philadelphia Phillies. He was a generous benefactor who
supported the athletic and scholastic endeavors of others. Mr. Carpenter
was instrumental in founding the Delaware High School All-Star football
classic and contributed both his resources and his energy to Delaware
     Carrying on his father's commitment to the University, Mr. Carpenter's
son, R. R. M. (Ruly) Carpenter III, currently serves as a trustee, and he
chaired the fund-raising campaign for the Bob Carpenter Center.
     One noteworthy beneficiary of the Carpenter legacy is G. Dallas Green,
Delaware '56, former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs
and the New York Yankees, who attended the University through the personal
support of Bob Carpenter. The University chose the dedication of the
Carpenter Center on Nov. 10, 1992, as an occasion to honor Green with its
Medal of Distinction for his outstanding personal achievement and for his
personal commitment to the center. Green, who served as a member of the
fund-raising campaign steering committee, chaired the effort for the Bob
Carpenter Club-a concourse lounge located in the new facility, providing
views both into the Acierno Arena and the football field of Delaware
     One need only travel to the corner of Route 896 and the Christina
Parkway to see what all this generosity has wrought. The Bob Carpenter
Sports/Convocation Center is a two-level facility that can seat more than
5,000 spectators and can accommodate graduation ceremonies, college
convocations, speaker presentations, concerts, banquets, exhibitions,
conferences and a host of other University events.  Housed in the facility
are locker rooms for men's and women's basketball teams and for the
football team, new athletic trainers' quarters, an expanded Sports Medicine
Clinic, a new strength-training center, coaches' and administrative
offices, meeting rooms and multipurpose classrooms. The centerpiece of the
complex is the Acierno Arena, circled by the MBNA Concourse and topped by
the Bob Carpenter Club.
     Designed by the world-renowned Kansas City, Mo., architects Helmuth,
Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), the center is equipped with a portable platform
stage. Basketball teams play on the portable, hard-maple Pro King floor
used in the 1992 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament "Final Four"
     Already the center is a bustling place. Thousands have enjoyed
concerts by musicians such as the legendary Bob Dylan, the rock band 10,000
Maniacs, country/pop stars Kathy Mattea and Hal Ketchum, rappers Chubb
Rock, M. C. Serch, Grand Puba and Zhigge and alternative rock band Phish.
Over 5,000 ticket-holders enjoyed an evening with comedian Bill Cosby, and
the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions delighted families at a November
performance. Parents Day took place at the center, as did Winter
Commencement in January.
     From its opening Oct. 30 through the end of February, approximately
100,000 patrons have enjoyed performances, athletic contests and other
events at the Bob Carpenter Center.
     In February, former President Jimmy Carter gave a free public talk,
and Ken Hill's version of The Phantom of the Opera was presented.
     Edgar Johnson, director of athletics at the University, says the Bob
Carpenter Center "brings the University of Delaware into the 1990s and
situates the sports program for the 21st century. It's a state-of-the-art
facility that's good, not only for the men's and women's teams who use it,
but for all the programs located here. That we were able to garner the
support needed to build this center is very gratifying."
     This satisfaction was communicated perfectly in the holiday card David
and Louise Roselle sent this past season. On the outside, the card looked
like a gift wrapped in blue and tied with a golden ribbon. On the inside
were the words, "A gift to Delaware from friends of the University," and a
picture of the Bob Carpenter Center.
     "That's really the way I feel about it," says President Roselle. "The
generosity of many people has made something very special available to the
University and to all the citizens of Delaware. This facility will enhance
University programming, but it will also contribute to the community. It
will make the good life in Delaware a little bit better."
                                   -Rosemary Crawford