May 23, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
A ceremony to break ground on Purdue University's Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center, the final jewel in the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex crown, took place on Friday (May 21).
The event occurred in conjunction with the 2004 NCAA Men's Golf Central Regional Championships played at the Kampen Course from May 20 to 22.
Construction on the $2.1 million indoor training facility is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in fall 2005. The facility is being named in honor of Tom Spurgeon, a Purdue alumnus from Peoria, Ill., who made the lead gift of nearly $750,000 toward the center.
"Golf great Bobby Jones once said that the secret of golf was to turn three shots into two," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "Practice is the best way to achieve that elusive goal. Tom Spurgeon's generosity will provide golfers - including our Boilermaker teams - with a shot at being their best."
Completion of the Spurgeon Center will be the final step in the transformation of facilities at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, which has undergone more than $8 million worth of improvements since 1996.
Morgan Burke, Purdue athletics director, said, "Tom Spurgeon joins other key donors who have totally remade Purdue golf. The Kampen Course is a Pete Dye masterpiece, the Ackerman Course is the perfect complement to Kampen, and together the Birck Complex is among the finest in the nation."
The 11,400-square-foot center will include an indoor putting green, a swing-analysis video computer system and multiple heated hitting bays, as well as team locker rooms, a lounge, coaches' offices, a pro shop and a classroom. The architectural design will be similar to the clubhouse and other facilities at the complex. When not in use by Purdue golf teams, the center will be open to the public.
Spurgeon said he is excited to be associated with a state-of-the-art endeavor.
"To match Purdue's reputation in academics and research, it's important to me that Purdue's athletics programs be equally successful," Spurgeon said. "That includes having outstanding facilities and equipment for our student-athletes.
"Combined with Purdue's strong academics, this additional golf facility will enhance our golf team's recruiting and maximize our student-athletes' skills. I'm excited to assist Purdue's golf program."
Under the guidance of Devon Brouse, men's and women's head golf coach, the Purdue men's and women's teams have made trips to the NCAA Championships in seven of 11 combined seasons. The Boilermakers also have had 15 All-Big Ten and two All-America selections.
"The enhancement of our facilities is making a difference," Brouse said. "As we host championship events that would only be possible with our improved facilities, the Purdue programs are on the rise."
Additionally, Brouse has seen the impact of the improvements to the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex drive the success of Purdue golf in recent years.
"For recruits, it's about facilities and academics," he said. "Our courses and the new training center now match the world-class Purdue academic reputation."
In the last six seasons, the Kampen Course has played host to the 2003 NCAA Women's Golf National Championships, 2001 NCAA Women's Golf Central Regional Championships, 2000 Western Junior Regional, 2000 Men's Big Ten Championships, 1999 Men's Northern Collegiate, 1999 Women's Big Ten Championships and 1998 Women's Northern Collegiate.
Nancy Cross, associate athletics director, senior woman administrator and golf sport administrator, said she sees the combination of the Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center, Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex and excellent coaching as a recipe for national success for years to come.
"Better facilities attract better coaches, which in turn boost the caliber of our student-athletes," Cross said. "Purdue is now a peer with the finest collegiate golf programs in the nation."
Spurgeon graduated from Purdue in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in industrial management. An entrepreneur who has built companies throughout the United States, he most recently was president and CEO of Lincoln Office in Peoria, Ill. He has served on the executive committee of the Purdue Alumni Association Board of Directors and chaired its Strategic Planning Task Force. Spurgeon is a member of Purdue's Athletic Advisory Committee, a group that counsels Burke and his senior staff.
Spurgeon also donated $1 million toward the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center, which is nearing completion. The Spurgeon Hall of Spirit, on the first floor of the center, is named in his honor. The area will display state-of-the art, changeable showcases featuring photographs, memorabilia and other objects that highlight some of the university's accomplishments and feature distinguished alumni.
The Kampen Course is named in honor of the late Emerson Kampen and his family. Kampen was chairman of Great Lakes Chemical when he died in June 1995 and served as a Purdue trustee from 1990 until his death. The Ackerman Course is named in honor of Jim and Lois Ackerman, of Carmel, Ind. Jim Ackerman is president of Cardinal Golf Club and Cardinal Ventures. The Birck Boilermaker Complex is named in honor of Michael and Katherine Birck, of Hinsdale, Ill.
Michael Birck is chairman of Tellabs Inc. and is a Purdue trustee. Katherine Birck is head of nursing at Women's Healthcare of Hinsdale.
Naming of the Tom Spurgeon Golf Training Center is subject to approval by Purdue's Board of Trustees.