UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State today received the largest private gift in its history -- $88 million.
Penn State alumnus Terry Pegula and his wife Kim donated the funds to build a new multi-purpose hockey arena near the Bryce Jordan Center and to help establish Division I men's and women's hockey programs.
"Maybe some day in these hills of Pennsylvania, we're going to find a [Sidney] Crosby," Pegula said, referring to the Penguins' superstar. "Hopefully, he'll play hockey for Penn State and I think that's awesome."
Mr. Pegula is the founder and former president, CEO and principal shareholder of East Resources Inc., a privately held independent exploration and development company based in Marshall.
Mr. Pegula earned a bachelor of science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Penn State in 1973, started East Resources Inc. in 1983 and built it into one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.
The company, a big-time player in the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, sold to Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $4.7 billion earlier this summer.
Penn State, which now has 31 varsity sports, plans to begin playing hockey as an independent for two years beginning in 2012-13.
Athletic director Tim Curley said the new arena, which will have two rinks, is expected to open for the 2014-15 season, if not earlier.
"This gift will allow us to take [hockey] to a completely new level at Penn State," Curley said.
The facility will be built at the corner of Curtin Road and University Drive, just west of the Bryce Jordan Center. It will include two ice sheets and other features that will allow it to be used for a range of campus and community activities, from commencement ceremonies to public skating sessions.
Ron Musselman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org