Sharon and Scott Rankin Close Soccer Field House Fundraising with $250,000 Gift
It was one of those down to the wire situations athletes know so well. The ready to be built soccer field house was nearing construction when a fire marshal review indicated a need for additional funds to finish the project.
“We had the blueprints and the funding for a game-day facility. But the problems we faced with the fire marshal’s inspection led to an opportunity to create a full time soccer operations building instead,” says Clint Hill ’03, director of athletic fundraising. “However, we were going to need an additional $400,000 to get it done,” he adds.
Hill and the soccer staff appealed to the “soccer family” once more. A story that began with the leadership of Jarrell ’00 and Graham ‘00 Seagraves and the altruism of the Spinks Family now had its final set of heroes. This spring, parents Sharon and Scott Rankin (daughter, Melanie ’18) stepped up with the capstone gift of $250,000.
The Rankins are leading philanthropists in their Pennsylvania community. “Many people need help and someone has to do it. We do a lot of work with families in our area. In fact, we have six businesses and each one began with a business plan stating that 10 percent of revenue must be given back to our community,” says Scott.
The Rankins’ daughter, Melanie, is beginning her sophomore year at Furman and is a member of the womens soccer team. “When one of our kids is going to a school we want to support it. We are all about giving to bricks and mortar. So, since Melanie plays soccer and attends Furman, this gift seemed like the perfect fit,” Scott adds.
The Rankins had never heard of Furman until Melanie became interested in the University. “When we were looking, Furman really stood out because of the quality of the soccer program,” Scott says. He hopes that the addition of the new soccer complex will change what he perceives to be a lack of awareness. “Soccer is perhaps not as prominently featured as it should be on campus. This building will make it look more like the first class operation that it is – it completes what has already been done.”
Of the major gifts they have made over the years, this will be the first to bear the family name – the upstairs foyer of the facility will be dubbed Rankin Hall. It will serve as an important recruiting space and reflect the history and success of both programs. “It is not to bring acclaim to us as a family. Not too many people know about [our philanthropy] but we want them to know and hear our story so they will consider being involved, too.”
This facility is a story of perseverance, generosity, and patience. It may have taken an extra year to finalize the Spinks Field House, but it will now include a second floor with a covered porch overlooking the pitch, coaches’ offices and locker room, and recruiting space. Hill says, “This building is twice what we set out to do and we are thrilled to add the finishing touches that will ultimately be one of the nicest stadiums in all of college soccer.”
The new complex is scheduled to be completed at the end of October. The official dedication of Spinks Field House will be this spring.
If you have not yet made a contribution to the facility and wish to add your name to the donor list, or if you would like to buy and personalize a “legacy brick” for $500 (two-year pledges accepted), please call Betsy Moseley, 864.294.3491, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The legacy bricks will be placed in the home side plaza beside the Spinks Field House.