NEW YORK - Columbia University has announced the establishment of a new $100,000 endowment for the varsity men's golf program. The endowment is made possible through a gift from former Columbia golfer Stephen L. Berkman '62CC. This new endowment will provide flexible funding each fiscal year to implement short- and long-term enhancements to the men's golf program.
Berkman returned to campus for his 50th Class Reunion in June 2012 and met with Head Men's Golf Coach Rich Mueller to announce his intention to make a leadership gift for the men's golf program.
The $100,000 endowment, part of the $100 million Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, will be focused on improving the "people, places and programs" associated with the golf team. Specifically, the gift will be used to enhance the team's competitive schedule, provide increased access to championship-quality golf courses, improve existing indoor golf training facilities and altogether enrich the experiences of the student-athletes on the men's golf team.
"I am thrilled to support the Columbia varsity Men's Golf program," said Berkman, a former stand-out on the men's golf team in the late 1950s and early 1960s. "Supporting this team - and Coach Mueller - is a way for me to give back to the institution that I love and pay forward to the next generation of outstanding Columbia golfers."
"We thank Stephen for his generosity and support of our varsity men's golf program," said Columbia Athletics Director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy. "As we continue towards our overall goal of $100 million for The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, endowment gifts like the one provided by Stephen are crucial to providing Columbia student-athletes with the best possible experience."
Rich Mueller enters his eighth season as Columbia's head men's golf coach and his 13th season as a collegiate coach. Also Columbia's Director of Golf, Mueller has shaped the Columbia golf program into a perennial power in the Ivy League. Mueller has guided the Lions to three Ivy League Team Men's Championships and his student-athletes have captured three individual Ivy League championship medals, qualified for four NCAA postseason team appearances and won 17 All-Ivy League honors.
"Golf at Columbia is unique for many reasons," says Mueller "To me, Stephen's gift is a tribute to all of the student-athletes, parents, previous coaches and friends of the golf program who've helped shape what it is today. It also signifies a commitment from our program and alumni to our future golfers. We're all so grateful for Stephen's generosity, and I know our golf program is primed for continued success."
The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, a $100 million initiative was launched in October 2007, as the largest fundraising initiative in the history of the Columbia Athletics Program. Through The Columbia Campaign for Athletics: Achieving Excellence, the University is transforming the experience of more than 700 student-athletes, by upgrading and constructing new facilities, launching new student-athlete programming, and providing increased funds for operations. The linchpin of The Columbia Campaign for Athletics is the newly-constructed Campbell Sports Center at the Baker Athletics Complex, dedicated at Homecoming in October 2012.
To date, Columbia has raised $80 Million toward the overall goal of raising $100 Million by December 2013.