ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University Facilities Management and Safety and Ohio Athletics recently announced the official opening of "The Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center," a new campus space that will provide dedicated study and instructional support for more than 425 student-athletes and group project collaboration with student peers across campus.
The facility, whose total project budget of approximately $7 million was funded entirely by Ohio Athletics and included a generous lead gift commitment of $2.25 million from Ohio alumni Perry and Sandy Sook, provides a classroom, computer lab, tutor rooms, offices for staff to interact with students and meeting rooms for group study. The Sook Center also enabled Ohio University to provide much-needed ADA restrooms to the Peden Stadium complex.
Currently, all Mid-American Conference, and most NCAA Division I schools, house dedicated student-athlete academic spaces.
"A designated study space for student-athletes is common on college campuses to assist them in meeting the unique and stringent academic standards required by the NCAA in order to be eligible to compete," said Ohio Athletics Director Jim Schaus. "Student-athletes spend hours each day at practice, and the Sook Center's close proximity to Ohio's athletic facilities and fields will enable them to also spend hours on their studies."
As reported by the NCAA Committee on Academics, student athletes who have been supported by academic centers at other colleges and universities have historically displayed higher retention and graduation rates as well as higher academic performance. NCAA athletic programs require student-athletes to meet unique and stringent academic requirements for eligibility, many of which exceed typical college student requirements.
"This transformative gift from the Sooks will provide student-athletes with the tools they need to succeed, both on the field and in the classroom," said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. "We are so grateful to our loyal and passionate alumni network who are always looking for ways to better the Ohio University student experience."
The construction of the Sook Center began in August 2017 and was completed in late August 2018. The project was undertaken following a series of space analyses in recent years, culminating with the passage of the Comprehensive Master Plan in March 2016, revealed a deficiency in academic study space for Ohio's student-athletes. The new academic center has doubled the size of the former study space, which was located on the fourth floor of Peden Stadium. On Ohio game days, the academic center will transform into a hospitality area for donors and fans.
The Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center was named in the honor of Perry and Sandy Sook, who are both 1980 graduates of the Scripps College of Communication. Sandy Sook also earned her master's in education from the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education in 1982.
"As alumni, we want to give back in a way that will have a dynamic impact on a diverse group of students," said Perry and Sandy Sook in a joint statement. "Our passion for academics and our appreciation for what intercollegiate athletics does for students and for the University is why we chose to support this project. We encourage friends and alumni of Ohio University to continue to invest in our student athletes."
To make a gift in support of the Ohio Bobcat Club, visit our online giving page or contact The Ohio University Foundation at 800-592-FUND or giving@Ohio.edu. Checks may be made payable to The Ohio University Foundation (be sure to write "Bobcat Club" in the notes section) and sent to the foundation at P.O. Box 869, Athens, Ohio 45701.