Chicago, Ill. - Larry Goodman, a life-long Chicagoan, entrepreneur and sports enthusiast, has donated $3 million to Roosevelt University to build a field house for its athletics program and intramural and recreational activities. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new building was held on Tuesday, July 26, to celebrate the start of the project.
The 27,834-gross-square-foot field house will be located at one of Chicago's most prominent intersections, the southeast corner of Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue, across the street from the University's Auditorium Building in the South Loop. It will be named the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center.
"I want to thank Larry Goodman for his generous gift, which is one of the largest individual gifts in the history of Roosevelt," said Roosevelt President Chuck Middleton. "Roosevelt University is pleased that the two-story field house will be named after Larry and his late wife, Lillian, who have made a measurable difference in the quality of life in our community through their many years of philanthropy. In addition to athletics, we plan to use the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center as a gathering space for all students. It will enhance recreational, social and student life activities at Roosevelt."
"I am proud and honored to be a partner with Roosevelt University," Mr. Goodman said. "The Lillian and Larry Goodman Center is a wonderful opportunity to support Roosevelt University and the city of Chicago."
The new Center is expected to open for the beginning of the 2012-13 academic year. It will contain a multi-purpose gymnasium on the second floor which will be used for numerous Roosevelt activities in addition to being the practice and competition home for the Roosevelt Lakers men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams.
Retractable bleachers can be rolled out at the gym to provide seating for approximately 500 people. When not being used in this capacity, the gym space can be segmented and utilized for programming space for varying intramural and recreational activities.
On the first floor of the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center, there will be administrative offices for athletic department staff, a varsity athletics strength and conditioning center, athletic training room, team meeting rooms, student lounge and locker rooms.
SCB (Solomon Cordwell Buenz) is the architect of the field house and Power Construction is the contractor. The building will be a LEED-Certified facility.
During the 2010-11 academic year, Roosevelt reinstated intercollegiate athletics for men after a 21-year absence and started an athletics program for women for the first time. The Roosevelt Lakers currently compete at the NAIA level in men's and women's basketball, tennis and cross country and men's baseball. Women's volleyball will begin in August. During the past season, Roosevelt played its home basketball games at the Illinois Institute of Technology gymnasium.
Mr. Goodman chose to fund a project in the city of Chicago because the Chicago community generously supported him during his early days of business.
Mr. Goodman's career began in 1946 after being discharged from the Air Force. He went to the War Assets Administration office, which disposes of army surplus supplies, to inquire about purchasing a small surplus airplane, but he didn't have the money. Instead he bought 15,000 pounds of army jackets at 10 cents a pound. He borrowed $1,500 and realized he could resell the surplus at a profit. He began selling merchandise to department stores, but soon decided to open his own.
A forerunner of the modern self-service discount department store, Mr. Goodman founded the Community Discount Store chain in 1946. Always an innovator, he was the first department store TV advertiser and hosted the Sunday afternoon children's programs Flash Gordon and the Outer Space Quiz Show.
Mr. Goodman sold the Community Discount Store as a 35-store chain and since 1965, has owned and operated shopping centers and office buildings nationwide.
In 1994, Mr. Goodman and his late-wife, Lillian, founded the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations, focusing their philanthropic efforts on teen drug abuse prevention, hunger issues, Jewish overnight camps, organizations in Israel, and various charities in Chicago and world-wide.
The Cebrin Goodman Center, which is committed to effective teen drug prevention efforts and provides grants to organizations whose expertise, vision, and passion uniquely position them to help young people develop the strengths to resist the formidable lure of drugs, was also founded by the Goodman's. When Mr. Goodman learned that the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policywas housed at Roosevelt, he knew that his personal mission was perfectly aligned with that of the University.