CSB receives gift from Coborn Family Foundation for new athletic fields, complex

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February 20, 2017

The Coborn Family Foundation has committed $500,000 to the College of Saint Benedict to support the construction and development of the College Avenue Athletic Fields. The gift was made possible by a generous donation from Dan ’52 and Mabel Coborn.

The College Avenue Athletic Fields, located on the east side of College Avenue between Renner House and Centennial Commons in St. Joseph, consist of:

  • Two soccer/lacrosse fields, with the varsity field having fixed spectator seating and artificial turf;
  • Two softball fields, with the varsity field having fixed spectator seating and artificial turf;
  • Three intramural/multi-use fields;
  • An athletic center featuring locker rooms and a training room, with restrooms and concessions for spectators.

“We are honored by the generous gift made by the Coborn Family Foundation to CSB athletics,” said CSB Athletic Director Glen Werner. “This exceptional gesture means we can follow through with our mission to provide appropriate women athletic and recreational facilities for our entire campus community to enjoy.”

Athletic FieldsOutlined in Strategic Directions 2020, a blueprint for CSB, the college commits to providing exceptional facilities and experiences for intercollegiate, club and intramural athletics in support of physical health and wellness for women.

Excavation of the fields began in fall 2016, and work will continue in spring 2017. The varsity soccer and softball fields are expected to be completed for use during the 2017-18 academic year. The athletic center will be built to LEED Silver sustainable building standards. All of the storm water and runoff from the site will be contained to protect waterways. The fields will be available for CSB varsity teams as well as club sports teams and intramurals. Eighty percent of CSB students participate in varsity, club sports and/or intramurals.

Since Title IX was enacted in 1972, the number of women participating in college athletics has increased 600 percent. The new facilities will match the caliber of the Saint Ben’s student-athletes and coaching staff as competitive, confident and committed. And, the new home field advantage will improve student recruitment and on-campus experience.

"The Coborn Family Foundation investment in our athletic fields is an investment in the leadership development of women,” said CSB President Mary Dana Hinton. “When our students participate in intercollegiate or intramural sports, they are building a critical foundation for their professional and personal futures. Our strategic plan calls us to focus on the transformational and holistic development of women and this generous gift enables us to do just that. We are extremely grateful to the Coborn family."

Soccer FieldsThe Coborn family has been a longstanding supporter of CSB athletics, and CSB in general. More than 20 members of the extended Coborn and Bergner families have attended CSB or its academic partner, Saint John’s University, or served on the Board of Trustees at either institution.

Rebecca Bergner Coborn ’81 is currently a member of the CSB Board of Trustees. Rebecca’s husband, Chris Coborn ’81, has served on the SJU Board of Trustees.

“The Coborn Family Foundation is honored to donate this gift to the College of Saint Benedict directed to the athletic department,” Rebecca Coborn said. “Over the last few decades, the number of women involved in both organized and intramural sports has grown dramatically. With this rise in interest, it is imperative that Saint Ben's respond to this surge by creating opportunities for their students to actively participate and compete.”

Rebecca’s daughter, Emily Coborn ’08, was a founding member of the CSB Young Alumnae President’s Circle in 2011, and continues to be an active member of the CSB Alumnae Association.

“The lessons young women learn on the field extend far beyond game time,” Emily Coborn said. “Trust, teamwork and accountability are just some of the traits we are helping instill through athletics. These lessons are vital to help ensure our young women have the greatest potential to be successful in their personal and professional lives. This investment is about people – not just athletics. That is the most fulfilling type of investment one could make.”

Softball FieldsThe Coborn Family Foundation was established jointly by Coborn’s, Inc. and members of the Coborn family in 2015. Their family roots stem from their first grocery store in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, which opened in 1921. Over the decades, the family has grown the company into a grocery retailer with approximately 8,000 employees and 54 stores across the Midwest.

 “The Coborn Family Foundation considers investments such this as having a long-term impact,” Emily Coborn said. “When we invest in future generations of leaders and promote wellness, the benefits can go far beyond the initial intent. Ultimately, everyone wins and our communities become better places.”