St. Thomas announced its first-ever endowed athletics scholarships today, as it unveiled a new philanthropy initiative that will help support the university along its historic transition to Division I athletics. With these and other key gifts, St. Thomas athletics has now received commitments in excess of $3 million year to date.
The Thomas W. Schultz and Ann Gray Harvey Scholarship for women’s basketball and the Krupa/Coughlin Scholarship for men’s basketball are the first gifts of their kind provided through the newly launched Tommie Athletic Fund. The fund will help provide the financial support St. Thomas student-athletes need to pursue comprehensive excellence as an integral part of the D-I transition.
The Tommie Athletic Fund features six key initiatives that will play integral roles in funding opportunities for student-athletes to pursue sustained comprehensive excellence, including: an annual giving program, endowed scholarship program, athletic advisory board, capital projects, sport-specific giving program, and alumni engagement.
“The launch of the Tommie Athletic Fund symbolizes our commitment to an investment in the holistic student-athlete experience, one that will impact their lives long beyond their time at St. Thomas,” mentioned Vice President, Director of Athletics Phil Esten. “Critical to our comprehensive success are the various opportunities for our community to engage and support their journey. I want to extend my gratitude to both the Schultz and Luka families on their historic commitment to Tommie athletics and our student-athletes, and to Mike Lunenschloss for his matching gift. These exemplary gifts will provide sustainable support for student-athletes, and serve as the foundation of our Forever Purple initiative and the 1904 Club.”
The Tommie Athletic Fund comprises:
- The 1904 Club: Named to honor and recognize the first year of intercollegiate athletics at St. Thomas, the 1904 Club is an annual opportunity for Tommie supporters to invest in the overall mission of the Athletic Department. This club supports both the academic and athletic success of its student-athletes. Members will receive unique opportunities never before offered at St. Thomas.
- The Forever Purple Program: An endowed scholarship program that directly impacts St. Thomas student-athletes, the Forever Purple Program gives individuals the opportunity to contribute to the general athletic endowment to support student-athlete scholarships or create their own named scholarship and specify the sport they would like to support. These endowments are a lasting legacy of support for student-athletes that will provide academic support in perpetuity. The Thomas W. Schultz and Ann Gray Harvey Scholarship for women’s basketball and the Krupa/Coughlin Scholarship for men’s basketball are the first two such fully endowed scholarships that have been committed to as part of this program.
- The Summit Club: The Summit Club serves as the primary advisory committee for the vice president, director of athletics. This inaugural board will advise, support and advance key initiatives as Tommie Athletics transitions from Division III to Division I. Supporters also have the opportunity to invest in capital projects as facility needs are presented. Likewise, alumni and fans can participate in sport-specific giving as part of the “Friends Of” program. Supporting this program allows coaches to go beyond their team’s most basic needs and allocate funds toward helping to support special projects and other sport-specific initiatives in pursuit of comprehensive excellence.
- Matching gift challenge: The final initiative of the Tommie Athletic Fund invites athletics alumni to celebrate with their teammates at alumni games and reunions or connect with the current team at competitions. Additionally, alumni will receive team alumni newsletters, grow the Tommie network by participating in career development, and impact St. Thomas student-athletes with networking and mentoring, all while joining other programs within the Tommie Athletic Fund.
As a part of the launch, alumnus Michael Lunenschloss ’74 has offered a matching gift challenge of $53,000 in honor of his old football number. Lunenschloss will generously match 1-to-1 every dollar raised in the first month of the launch, up to $53,000.
Thomas Schultz ’71 and his wife Ann Gray Harvey are honored and excited to support the University of St. Thomas women’s basketball program through the first women’s basketball athletic scholarship, the Thomas W. Schultz and Ann Gray Harvey Scholarship. Schultz graduated from St. Thomas with an accounting degree, magna cum laude, and went on to have a long, distinguished career in health care management.
“We are so blessed to have received this generous scholarship opportunity for the women in our basketball program,” stated Head Women’s Basketball Coach Ruth Sinn. “Tom and Ann Gray are wonderful, caring people who serve others. They represent the St. Thomas mission to advance the common good. I look forward to partnering with them both to help the women in our program chase comprehensive excellence here at St. Thomas. Thank you, Tom and Ann Gray.”
Thomas ’68 and Margaret Luka are supporting the St. Thomas men’s basketball program with the first men’s basketball athletic scholarship, the Krupa/Coughlin Scholarship. Thomas is naming the scholarship in honor of his uncle, Joe Krupa, and Father Bernard Coughlin, who was St. Thomas’ athletic director when Thomas was a student. Krupa was a football standout at Purdue University and played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Krupa was a positive influence on Thomas and strongly encouraged him to attend St. Thomas. Thomas played on the St. Thomas men’s basketball team while attending school from 1965-68.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of Tom and Margaret,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach John Tauer. “Their gift will create a legacy that provides a building block as we make this historic transition from Division III to Division I. Our success over the years has been in part due to so many contributions, from our student-athletes to assistant coaches to alumni and families. We are thrilled to begin this transition with this incredibly altruistic pledge from the Lukas!”