Bryant to open 80,000-sq.-ft. Conaty Indoor Athletic Center
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – On Saturday, May 14, Bryant University will hold dedication ceremonies for its new Conaty Indoor Athletic Center. The 80,000-square-foot facility is a key component of Bryant Builds, the largest and most transformative facilities initiative since Bryant’s move from Providence to Smithfield 45 years ago. In total, this year Bryant is adding more than 250,000 square feet of dramatic academic and athletic facilities. The landmark construction is made possible by more than $30 million in leadership gifts already received for Bryant’s capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future.
"Bryant is clearly a leader in athletic facilities at the Division I level in New England.”
Conaty Indoor Athletic Center is the East Coast's largest indoor practice facility in the NCAA I New England region. Bryant is the only private university in the region with a permanent facility of this scale. The building is adjacent to Conaty Park, the University’s baseball and softball complex, which was dedicated for Sue and Bill Conaty '67 in 2012.
Designed to provide a venue for practice 365 days a year, despite the harsh New England winter, Conaty Indoor Athletic Center features a state-of-the-art indoor turf field with a full 120 yards of turf as well as coaches’ viewing platforms and other ancillary spaces. The building will benefit student-athletes on Bryant’s 22 NCAA Division I teams as well as student intramural sports.
With widespread support from a base of approximately 14,500 campaign donors, Bryant has already raised more than $60 million toward the $75 million campaign goal, the largest fundraising effort in the University’s history. Under the visionary leadership of University President Ronald K. Machtley, in his 20th year at Bryant, the campaign is generating resources for scholarships, academic excellence, global initiatives, and inspirational facilities including:
Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, named in recognition of approximately $7.5 million in total campaign support from Sue and William J. Conaty ’67. Bill Conaty, Senior Vice President (Retired), Corporate Human Resources General Electric Company, is chair of the Bryant University Board of Trustees and co-chair of Bryant’s capital campaign.
As the human resources leader for over 300,000 GE employees worldwide, Conaty was widely acclaimed for his track record of innovation. He was the architect behind many of GE's frequently cited HR practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning, and served as a role model for others in turning HR organizations into strategic business partners. Conaty served as captain of Bryant's 1967 baseball team and was inducted into Bryant’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also recognized with the school's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.
School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Learning Center, which provides state-of-the-art facilities including a high fidelity simulation laboratory, a physical exam laboratory, and dedicated physician assistant classrooms. Bryant’s strategic entry into healthcare launched in 2014 and includes the School’s first clinical program, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
A Sports Medicine and Training Center, opening May 20, is among enhancements to the Elizabeth and Malcolm Chace Wellness and Athletic Center.
A 50,000-square-foot Academic Innovation Center, where innovative learning will be fostered in a creative and innovative environment designed for a new generation of pedagogy in both Bryant’s College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences. Funded with philanthropic support including a $5-million campaign gift from a Bryant alumnus, the Center will open in August.
A leader in athletics
“We are so thankful for the exceptional generosity of Sue and Bill Conaty, a distinguished Bryant alumnus and leader of our Board,” said President Machtley. “With their significant philanthropy and the opening of the Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, Bryant is clearly a leader in athletic facilities at the Division I level in New England.”
“This is an unprecedented period in the history of Bryant academics and athletics,” said Bill Conaty. “Bryant’s Bulldog student-athletes are competing against some of the nation’s top teams, and earning both top grades in the classroom and record-breaking victories on the field. My wife, Sue, and I are proud to support the University’s bold vision for the future and feel great about playing our part in Bryant’s success.”
Currently, both Bryant’s baseball and men’s lacrosse teams are nationally ranked among the top 20. Since Bryant’s move to NCAA Division I, the Bulldogs have earned two back-to-back Brenda Weare Commissioner's Cup trophies as the top sports program in the NEC. National recognition for the strength of Bryant’s Division I athletics program includes a recent segment on CBS Television's 60 Minutes.
“Our student-athletes know they must work hard to get better and improve every single day,” said Bill Smith, Bryant’s Director of Athletics. “Outstanding facilities like the Conaty Indoor Athletic Center allow them to train at the highest level year-round and demonstrate Bryant's commitment to giving them everything they need to achieve competitive success. The Conaty Indoor Athletic Center is a significant competitive advantage for our coaches, and will help them to recruit the best student-athletes.”
Launched in September 2014, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future outlines Bryant's strategic plan to take on an ever more active role in the organizations and economies of the world. The dedication ceremony for Conaty Indoor Athletic Center, named for Bill ’67 and Sue Conaty, will be held at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2016, and take place prior to the baseball game between Bryant and Central Connecticut State.