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Associate Director of Development
Women's Athletics
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release:  July 15, 1999

New softball complex is nearly complete, to be named Pearl Field

IOWA CITY, Iowa-The renovation of the University of Iowa Women's Softball Complex is nearing completion, and Christine H. B. Grant, director of UI Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Programs, recently announced that the softball field will be named Pearl Field, in honor of Robert L. Pearl of Coralville.

The George H. Scanlon Foundation, whose $150,000 gift helped to fund the renovation of the Women's Softball Complex, requested that the field be named in honor of Pearl, the first African-American baseball player at the University of Iowa.

According to Clarke Scanlon of Urbandale, Iowa, who heads the family foundation, Pearl lived with Scanlon's father and grandparents during Pearl's years as an Iowa student-athlete. Pearl continues to be a close friend of the Scanlon family.

Pearl Field and the newly renovated UI Softball Complex will be dedicated at a special program to be held between the two games of a doubleheader with the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday, Oct. 2. Admission to the games is free, and the public may tour the newly refurbished facilities following the dedication.

Robert L. Pearl earned a B.A. degree from the UI in 1960 and remains actively involved with Iowa men's and women's athletics. He is past president of the Lettermen's Club (now called the Varsity Club, for men and women letterwinners) and a member of its board of directors.

The $1 million Grand Stand Campaign for Women's Softball conducted by UI Women's Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Iowa Foundation is the largest fund-raising effort in the history of Iowa women's athletics.

Private contributions from more than 700 individuals, families and organizations have pushed the total raised to the $900,000 mark and provided the funding to enclose the press box, improve bleachers, construct locker rooms, improve the concession stand and upgrade other facilities.

One of the early gifts to the campaign included an in-kind gift of lights from Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa, which will now light up Pearl Field. According to Jana Egeland, the UI Foundation's associate director of development for Women's Athletics, several area organizations have supported the campaign, including Iowa State Bank and Trust of Iowa City, the Johnson and Linn County I-Clubs and in-kind gifts from Seven Cities Sod of Davenport, Iowa, and Hodge Construction Company of Iowa City. The UI Softball Complex, located in Coralville, is used by local and regional girls, boys, men's and women's teams.

"The campaign is nearing its goal," says Egeland. "We would like to celebrate reaching the $1 million mark when we dedicate the complex and officially name the field in October." Individuals who wish to support the Grand Stand Campaign may call Jana Egeland at the University of Iowa Foundation at (319) 335-3305 or toll-free at (800) 648-6973.

University of Iowa Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to raise funds for facilities improvements, scholarships, professorships, and research funds in a variety of programs across the UI campus.