Remarks: Kent Mueller ’62 ΣΑΕ
Athletic Stadium Announcement
March 13, 2018
Thank you, President Lamkin, students, and the rest of the Westminster community for coming together so I could have this opportunity to make an announcement that I believe will greatly improve the student experience at Westminster College.
Judy and I have been blessed in life, and one of our greatest joys and satisfactions has been to help give Westminster students the best academic experience possible.
Our contributions to Westminster have always been guided by asking ourselves one basic question: “What could we do that would benefit most of the students most of the time?”
As a student myself back in 1959, I saw the Quad and the Robertson Dining Hall constructed, so I know firsthand what a huge difference new facilities can make in the lives of students.
In the year 2000, the President of the SGA came to our spring Board of Trustees meeting and offered us a $5,000 check with a commitment to give us $5,000 every year to build a student activity center.
They actually asked for a “pole barn,” or anything that would accommodate a large student gathering for social events.
At that time our campus had no large space where students could gather for their events, and the sports teams had no place to practice when the weather was bad.
That’s why you see batting cages in the Mueller Student Center.
After leaving that Board of Trustees meeting and seeing the commitment of those students, I was determined that their needs would be met.
These were our “customers,” telling us what they so desperately needed.
So Judy and I donated money to build the Mueller Student Center in 2001.
In 2007, our students desperately needed a new dining hall. Robertson Dining Hall was out of date and in sad shape—and our campus population had outgrown its usefulness.
So Judy and I made a substantial gift to build the Mueller Leadership Hall which our students enjoy every day and has become a center of activity on campus.
Now I am pleased to announce a gift that will make another new facility possible for all our students.
Judy and I are making a $3 million dollar gift to the College to build a new athletic stadium on Priest Field.
We have such a great group of student-athletes; they deserve facilities more worthy of their talents.
And all students, parents, alumni, and townspeople who support our Blue Jays deserve a more enjoyable experience.
This will be the largest capital improvement project on campus in over a decade.
It will not only impact football, but baseball, softball, men and women’s soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse.
Phase I will include artificial turf, a new scoreboard, and lights.
This Phase I will be completed in time for the fall football season.
Phase II encompasses the stadium structure itself, including the bleachers, press box, concessions, and restrooms.
The rest of our contribution for Phase III will pay for other athletic facility enhancements.
Why are we doing this?
Because we love Westminster and our students of the Blue Jay Nation.
Westminster gave me the knowledge, tools, and drive to enthusiastically pursue everything I needed to be successful in both my personal life and in my professional life.
From the time I graduated, at no time did I ever feel that I lacked the attributes or confidence in order to succeed.
I have never backed away from a good challenge.
I was not the best student here by far.
But all of my professors challenged me to go beyond the knowledge found in books, and I learned so many other things.
They challenged me to think—and to grow.
I learned how to communicate and interact here with all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations.
How important it is to acknowledge others—to make them feel needed and respected.
Because I was encouraged to drink in all this liberal arts college had to offer, I became a more well-rounded person and discovered what direction I wanted my life to take.
I was in Sigma Alpha Epsilon, where I gained friends for a lifetime.
I played sports, was in clubs, and participated in everything from intramurals to Army ROTC.
I even helped put a rock and roll band together with a couple of fraternity brothers and a Phi Gam.
We called ourselves The Regrets, and played at school events and fraternity parties.
And I’m sure everyone who heard the way we massacred Chuck Berry and Elvis had their regrets.
I listened to the thoughts of some of the greatest world leaders of our time such as Dean Rusk, Henry Luce, and Lord Mountbatten from Burma and enjoyed concerts by entertainers like Pete Seeger and Ike and Tina Turner.
However, the act I will never forget was the performance at Westminster in my senior year by a group called The Weavers.
A friend of mine set me up for the concert with a blind date from Mizzou, and she has been the love of my life ever since. We had our first date that evening and have been together ever since.
Judy and I have been married 55 wonderful years. Judy is my rock and my best friend.
Where else in the world can you get an education like mine except as part of Westminster?
Where else can you find such an extraordinary platform to build confidence and prepare you to lead?
Where you can launch yourself into a life of success, significance, and one of service.
One of the main reasons this new stadium is so important to me is because I know what a strong role sports can play in developing that character and discipline I’ve been talking about.
I came to Westminster on a baseball scholarship and pitched for the first two years until I injured my arm.
You may not know it if you don’t play baseball, but being a pitcher is the loneliest job in sports.
The entire fate of the team and the outcome of the game is in your hands.
From this experience, and being a life-long learner, I gained focus, determination, persistence, confidence, and teamwork—all the skills I needed to succeed in life.
The two things I love most in life are competition and risk.
At this time in my life, about the only place I can still be competitive is on the golf course, and like Churchill, I will never give into old man PAR.
My goal is to shoot my age each time I tee it up.
Each passing year, it gets easier.
And I will tell you, never, never be afraid to take risks.
I’ve walked the corporate tightrope in Fortune 500 companies like IBM and Intel.
I’ve started lots of commercial ventures that have failed.
And I’ve had a few that were wildly successful.
But I’m never been afraid to jump in and get in the thick of it…and I’ve never ever given up.
Remember: you never fail at something until you quit trying.
God bless the Blue Jay Nation.
Go, Blue Jays!