New Athletic Facilities Dedicated at Benedictine College | Benedictine College

New Athletic Facilities Dedicated at Benedictine College

Asher Sports Complex, Olsen Stadium, Laughlin Field & the Softball Stadium Recognized in Ceremony

Published: Monday, September 28, 2015

“The Asher, Haverty and Laughlin families all heard the call to create something beautiful together,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis during the blessing and dedication ceremonies of Asher Sports Complex, Olsen Stadium, Laughlin Field and the Softball Stadium on September 26. “These three families not only made these facilities we see here possible, but so much more.”

Minnis explained that Benedictine College had grown to the extent that it needed more workout and intramural facilities for its students. The college also needed to expand to meet the growth in the sciences and engineering. And, on a basic but very vital level, the school needed more parking.

“We were landlocked, but the Asher donation answered that prayer,” he said, referring to the family’s donation of nearly 8 acres just north of Wilcox Stadium.

He went on to note that there were no funds to build anything on the Asher land, but Mike and Marlys Haverty answered that prayer. With a million-dollar donation, they paved the way for the new collegiate gothic stadium named for Marlys’ father, Kenneth Olsen.

Kenneth and his brother, Luther, both played baseball in college and both had careers in the sport after graduation, Kenneth with the Chicago White Sox farm team in Stanton, Iowa, and Luther with the Chicago White Sox in the majors. Kenneth went on to be a history professor at Emmetsburg Junior College in Emmetsburg, Iowa, and served as the head football, basketball and baseball coach there.

“Marlys’ father was instrumental in helping many students get through college by working with local priests to identify prospects and get them athletic scholarships,” Minnis said. “He also helped some of the young men he worked with find their way to professional sports careers as a longtime scout for the Pittsburg Pirates organization.”

The Havertys have long supported baseball on the Benedictine campus and donated funds in 2003 for the construction of a press box and grandstand at the old baseball field. That structure was named for Kenneth, so it was only natural that the new facility continue with the Olsen name.

“Thanks to Kenneth Olsen and the love of baseball he instilled in the family, the sport will be enjoyed at Benedictine College in this beautiful ballpark by generations of fans and players to come,” Minnis said.

Finally, funds were needed to install a state-of-the-art turf field inside Olsen Stadium, and that prayer was answered by Dave and Sheri Laughlin.

“Dave and Sherri have always believed in the foundations in health, teamwork and discipline provided by organized athletics and they carried that belief to Benedictine College,” Minnis said during the dedication.

He said the Laughlins have stepped up repeatedly to fund athletics on campus, including the state-of-the art track inside Wilcox Stadium and equipment for the men’s and women’s lacrosse club teams, in addition to the beautiful turfed infield and natural grass outfield of Olsen Stadium.

“Because of these strong families, Benedictine College obtained the land and the funding to move the baseball and softball fields to this beautiful location,” said Minnis. “By moving those athletic facilities, it gave us the opportunity to build a fantastic new Student Recreation Center which will be completed in the early spring.”

The college also has room to expand Westerman Hall, the science and engineering building, and improve those facilities for its students, and has already added hundreds of new parking spaces on campus.

“We are thankful to these three inspiring families who have made possible not just these new athletic facilities, but so much more,” Minnis concluded.