July 20, 2019 | 83° F

$15 mil donation will fund academic center to support Rutgers athletes

Photo by YouTube |

Gary and Barbara Rodkin met at Rutgers in 1976. The couple has made a number of contributions to the University including the Douglass Residential College, the Rutgers Honors College and The Gary Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success. 

Rutgers Athletics will dedicate its recent $15 million gift — the largest in its history — to the creation of an academic center to support student athletes.

The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success will be housed on Busch campus, offering consolidated academic support services for Rutgers Athletics within one building, according to the press release.

It will house men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse program training facilities, as well as offices for Athletics’ administration, and will be located directly across from High Point Solutions Stadium on Scarlet Knight Way.

“Gary and Barbara wanted to marry their two passions, academics and athletics,” said Pat Hobbs, director of Athletics. “This facility will enable us to build a best-in-class academic support program.”

Hobbs said Rutgers is committed to student-athlete success in the classroom and later in life.

Both graduates of Rutgers University, Gary and Barbara Rodkin have supported multiple programs throughout the University, including Rutgers Future Scholars, the Douglass Residential College and the Rutgers Honors College, according to the press release.

The couple met and began their life together at Rutgers.

“We met in the library. I was a senior in 1976, after Gary had graduated, during the basketball team’s Final Four season,” Barbara Rodkin said. “I could get a ‘date ticket’ to a game in the Barn for a dollar. I have always been suspicious that he continued to date me for those tickets.”

Gary Rodkin said that the two are pleased with the direction that University President Robert L. Barchi is taking Rutgers in with the Strategic Master Plan.

“We have been very fortunate in our lives and we want to share,” Gary Rodkin said. “That’s very fundamental to who we are. We much prefer to do this now, rather than later in life, so we can see and experience the impact on our students and University for many years to come."

The new facility will offer a range of resources, including support environments for academic advising, learning specialists, one-on-one and group tutoring, workshops and seminars, team study halls and a computer lab, according to the press release. 

“Most of our student-athletes are not going to play professionally or compete in the Olympics,” Barbara Rodkin said. “It’s very important they graduate and contribute to their communities. We trust that many will become leaders in whatever field they choose to pursue.”

The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success will be the second facility built as part of the ongoing “R B1G Build,” launched in early 2016 to raise $100 million for new or updated facilities, according to the press release.

The initiative has raised more than $92 million since its launch from both public and private support.

“This gift from Gary and Barbara will further our aspiration to be recognized as one of the world’s premier universities,” Barchi said. “I want to thank the Rodkins for their remarkable leadership in helping our student-athletes achieve the highest academic standards.”

Alexandra DeMatos

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