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Letter: Those Deep-Pocketed Benefactors

To the Editor:

I read with amusement the Jan. 23 article in the Valley News about “big-bucks donors” of athletic facilities at universities, focusing particularly on a large gift to Penn State by Terry Pegula to build a new hockey rink and jump-start the hockey program there. This phenomenon is by no means new, nor is it pernicious.

Most of the funds for one of the architecturally most famous sporting venues in the Ivy League — the David S. Ingalls Rink at Yale, better known as the Yale Whale — were given to Yale by a single individual, Louise Harkness Ingalls. Yale lore has it that Ms. Ingalls gave the university the funds for this landmark work by Eero Saarinen as a Christmas gift to her husband and her son, both of whom had been Yale hockey captains.

While compared to the present era there has been a dramatic change in the buying power of the dollar since the 1960s, when the Ingalls Rink was built, the size of the gifts is roughly equivalent. The origin of the money may differ in that Ms. Ingalls had inherited a great Standard Oil fortune, whereas Pegula is a self-made billionaire. But no matter what the source of the funds, the objective is the same: meeting a recognized need of an institution to which the donor has a strong allegiance. No harm in that as far as I can see.

Harte C. Crow

Etna

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Big-Bucks Donors Are Game-Changers

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Philadelphia — Just 28 months ago, ice hockey was a successful but obscure club sport at Penn State. Its players shared ice time with broomball teams and its arena held slightly more than 1,000 fans, which hardly mattered since few ever came to hockey games. Then Terry Pegula opened his wallet and, poof, humble hockey was magically transformed into a …