Curtis Granderson Honors UIC at All Star Awards Luncheon
July 18, 2013
NEW YORK - UIC Hall-of-Fame baseball player Curtis Granderson and his Grand Kids Foundation hosted an All Star Awards Luncheon this past Monday in New York City, in which the Yankee outfielder recognized UIC with a Community Service Award. In attendance to accept the honor was head baseball coach Mike Dee, Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and Vice Chancellor Mark Donovan. UIC received the accolade for their commitment to the Curtis Granderson Stadium Project, a youth initiative anchored around a new multi-million dollar baseball facility.
"I think it's a great honor for the University to be recognized," said Dee. "Paula Allen-Meares and Mark Donovan have been instrumental in allowing this project to move forward. We're going to have the opportunity to reach roughly 13,000 children in the Chicago community and bring them on a college campus. Baseball is just being used as a motivator."
Back in February, Granderson announced his pledge to the project and on May 30, the University Board of Trustees approved the plans for construction of the new facility. Major League Baseball's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and Urban Youth Academy (UYA) programs will be chief partners for the project. University administration will also be involved with the RBI program to inject an educational component, expounding on UIC's sense of responsibility to contribute to the well-being of urban life.
"People need to remember the most important aspect of this project is Curtis' gift," said Dee. "He carries an enormous level of credibility in the community because of his reputation and so we've built the project on that. I think the youth program is being structured in such a way that it will be even larger than anyone had originally intended it to be, which is a great thing."
Construction for the new stadium is set to begin in early September with a 12-month timetable. It will feature approximately 1,200 chair-back seats and two grassy berms for spectator seating. The structure style will be an open air brick and stone clad ballpark that allows for flexibility and easy pedestrian movement. In addition there will be one level of disability seating and another level with enhanced press amenities.
"There are a lot of people in the community that are in the same situation I was in 15 to 20 years ago," said Granderson. "Now, I am in a position where I have the ability to help kids pursue whatever dreams they have, whether they are educational, athletic or just life in general. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to team up with UIC, which has helped me get to where I am today."