Palm Beach Atlantic University today announced a second multi-million dollar gift from the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation to advance construction of the University's new athletic campus located on 76 acres off Parker Avenue north of Southern Boulevard.
In announcing the follow up gift, Foundation President John Rinker focused on the value that the athletic campus will bring to Palm Beach Atlantic students.
“For a university to be complete, a well-developed athletic program and facilities are needed. For the athletes, playing sports develops character. For the fans, athletics provides a social outlet as well as develops school spirit,” said Rinker. “Speaking for my wife, Sheila, as well as the entire Foundation board, I would like to express our encouragement for the completion of this project and our regard for Palm Beach Atlantic students. The University is producing graduates who, nurtured by a Christian faculty and administration, have integrity, moral strength and the ability to live by these principles on a daily basis.”
“The students, faculty and staff of Palm Beach Atlantic University are grateful to John and Sheila Rinker and the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation for this significant gift that affirms their support of the athletic campus,” University President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. said.
The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus provides baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and lacrosse competition facilities. In addition, the project includes an 11-acre community park for the use of city residents, which will be deeded to the City of West Palm Beach.
“The Rinker Foundation has kept the fundraising momentum going and issued a challenge to others to join them in supporting the athletic campus,” said Scott Hawkins, Esq., chairman of the University's board of trustees.
In the past 60 days alone, an additional $3.5 million has been raised, said Vice President for Development Vicki Pugh. A balance of $7.4 million yet to be raised to complete the project, Pugh said.
The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation was formed in 1998 from the M.E. Rinker, Sr. Foundation, Inc. and honors John Rinker's father, Marshall E. “Doc” Rinker who was a lifetime trustee of Palm Beach Atlantic University, and his mother, Vera Lea Rinker. In 1999, the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation, along with John and Sheila Rinker, contributed $3 million to Palm Beach Atlantic University for Vera Lea Rinker Hall, which houses the School of Music and Fine Arts. John Rinker is a life-long Palm Beach County resident and former trustee of Palm Beach Atlantic. Sheila Rinker serves as a volunteer on the University's Women of Distinction committee.
Palm Beach Atlantic is a member of the NCAA Division II. Known as the Sailfish, the University's 12 teams compete in men's and women's basketball, golf, soccer and tennis, baseball, softball, and women's cross country and volleyball. Men’s and women’s lacrosse compete nationally as a club sport. In addition, more than 1,100 students participate annually in intramural sports including flag football, basketball, soccer, indoor volleyball, bowling, ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, billiards, ping pong, beach volleyball and racquetball.