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Donation enables major lacrosse locker room revamp

James and Mary Lawrence P’16 donate $1.1M for first renovations of teams’ facilities in over 30 years

The men’s and women’s lacrosse teams were bestowed a gift by parents of current Brown students, accepted at the February meeting of the Corporation. Players and coaches of the lacrosse teams said these gifts come at a time at which both programs are in need of renovated facilities, players say.

The lacrosse teams received a $1,100,000 donation from James Lawrence P’16 and Mary Lawrence P’16 to support the renovation project at the Pizzitola Center.

Though the University provides funding to the athletic department, with 37 varsity sports and a growing number of competitive club teams, donations and team fundraising are used to supplement the cost of the programs.

The Brown University Sports Foundation (BUSF), led by executive director Davies Bisset ’85, does copious behind-the-scenes work including connecting alumni donors to current teams and parents in order to build relationships and ensure support for Brown’s athletic department, according to the BUSF website.

“Without their work, our athletic programs would not be able to supplement our athletes the necessary facilities and equipment,” said men’s lacrosse team Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90.

“This never would have happened without a group of fans, parents and alumni wanting to make this happen,” added Keely McDonald, head women’s lacrosse coach.

Facility enhancements and capital projects at Brown are most often dependent upon gifts from alumni and parents. For instance, the lacrosse field behind the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center, Meister-Kavan Field, was built 10 years ago thanks to significant gifts from Bill Kavan ’72 and the Meister brothers, all four of whom played lacrosse and served as captains during their times at Brown.

“Not only do our varsity sports rely upon former players and supporters of our program for capital projects, much of our varsity athletic teams’ annual budgets are dependent upon fundraising,” Tiffany said.

The project is specifically focusing on the construction of new, year-round locker rooms.

The lacrosse teams’ gift was a process in the works for the past few years. The current locker rooms have served their teams for over 30 years now.

“Our men’s team is in the same space that I used as a player in the later 1980s,” Tiffany said.

When teams are in-season, they are designated specific locker rooms, but when out of season, those locker rooms are assigned to the next season’s sports team.

“Having a year-round locker room will be critical for the team — especially out of season,” McDonald said.

These new locker rooms may prove to serve an even greater purpose by attracting new student-athletes to choose Brown. Newer facilities frequently held a special allure.

“Such an enhancement to the facilities is greatly needed if we are to continue to pursue the most talented recruits and provide quality and competitive surroundings for our student-athletes,” Tiffany said.

The project is slated to be completed by the end of this summer, and in addition to the brand new lockers and shower spaces, there will also be rooms for team meetings and film reviews.

Both coaches and players expressed the positive impact this new project will have on their teams, especially in terms of team rapport.

“It’s supposed to be really nice with couches, TVs…the whole nine yards,” said Nick Piroli ’15, who plays for the men’s lacrosse squad. “I could see it not just being a locker room but also a spot where we got to hang out, relax.”

“It goes along with the fresh start and the revamping the program has undergone in the past two years,” said Anna Lanpher ’16, a member of the women’s lacrosse team. “We are elevating the program to the next level, and having a new locker room is just icing on the cake.”



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