Oregon softball receives $10 million leading gift for new stadium

The Oregon Ducks and Minnesota Golden Gophers warm up before the start of the game. The Oregon Ducks play the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first game of super regionals at Howe Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

The Oregon Ducks and Minnesota Golden Gophers warm up before the start of the game. The Oregon Ducks play the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first game of super regionals at Howe Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (Ryan Kang/Emerald)

Posted by Victor Flores on Saturday, Jun. 7 at 9:16 pm.

The Oregon softball program received a $10 million gift from Robert Sanders, UO athletic director Rob Mullens announced Saturday. The gift will lead a push towards construction of a new softball stadium.

“I’m thrilled to announce a leading gift to Oregon softball that will pave the way to a new era for our highly successful program,” Mullens said during Saturday’s Women in Flight dinner. “Thanks to Mr. Sanders’ generosity, we will be able to ride the momentum of this amazing season and create a new home for Ducks softball.”

The new softball facility will be named after Sanders’ late wife, Jane, who passed away in June 2013 at the age of 85. Robert, a former fullback for the Oregon football team, graduated from the university in 1949. He met Jane, a cheerleader, while the two attended UO Jane graduated in 1950.

The couple became successful in the lumber industry, with businesses in Oregon, Washington and California.

“We cannot thank Robert enough for his generosity,” UO President Michael Gottfredson said. “The university is grateful and proud to help honor the legacy of Jane Sanders. Our softball team is a tremendous point of pride for this university and this gift will only serve to bolster it.”

The date of opening and location for the new softball facility have yet to be determined. The Oregon softball team currently plays its home games at Howe Field, which opened as a baseball stadium for the Ducks in 1936. The softball team began playing there in 1987.

“I would like to thank Mr. Sanders and his late wife, Jane, for their tremendous donation to our softball program,” said head softball coach Mike White, who was traveling for recruiting on Saturday. “This has just made a great year in Oregon softball even better. I’m so happy for our current and future student-athletes to soon have a new facility that will reflect their hard work and dedication to building Oregon softball into the program it is today.”

Some Twitter reaction to Sanders’ gift:

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