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Higher Ed

Saint Peter’s Announces $5M Lead Gift from Thomas P. Mac Mahon

Jersey City-based Saint Peter’s University announced that Thomas P. Mac Mahon ’68, member of the Saint Peter’s University board of trustees and retired chairman and chief executive officer of LabCorp, has committed a $5 million lead gift to launch the phased renovation of The Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center (RLC).

The renovation will ultimately transform the historic and fundamentally vital facility while enhancing the experience for current and future students, the University’s Division I student-athletes, alumni, members of the local community, Peacock fans and more. When complete, the project, which will be funded by restricted gifts, will have a profound impact on recruitment, community engagement, support for athletics and institutional pride.

Mac Mahon’s gift will specifically help to support the first phase of the renovation, which includes the creation of a modern basketball/volleyball arena. The arena will feature a number of amenities for students and guests, including new retractable bleachers with an allotment of chairback seating, a full replacement of the hardwood court surface, updated branding and signage, a reimagined entryway to the facility, enhanced lighting and new video scoreboards. The gift will also support the creation of a Hall of Fame to celebrate the legacy of Peacock athletics, which will be enhanced in phases over the course of the project. Construction is slated to begin this summer.

“This transformative upgrade to our shared volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball facility will provide our teams with the infrastructure they need to continue striving for athletics excellence within the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, while also providing a quality space for all of our students to participate in recreational gym activities,” said Rachelle Paul, director of athletics.

“Tom has already made an indelible impact on the University through his extraordinary philanthropy in 2012, enabling us to break ground on the Mac Mahon Student Center,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “We are humbled by his continued belief in and support of Saint Peter’s. It is fitting that his legacy will now grow on the West Campus where he made his mark as a basketball player and member of the ‘Run Baby, Run’ team that defeated Duke in the NIT quarter finals more than 50 years ago.”

In celebration of the proud legacy of Peacock basketball, Mac Mahon has made the decision to honor his former 1967-68 men’s basketball teammates and name the transformed space the “Run Baby Run Arena.”

“My relationship with Saint Peter’s has been one sided in that it has done more for me than I could have ever imagined,” said Mac Mahon. “The foundation of my life was built on the streets of Jersey City, at the corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Montgomery Street. This project has been a longtime dream of mine and I am thrilled that it will soon come to fruition. I am also delighted that this gift will pay tribute to my teammates, celebrate our time together at Saint Peter’s and create a lasting legacy of basketball in the late 1960s.”

Mac Mahon presided as chair of the board of trustees from 2012 to 2018, which proved to be a time of unprecedented growth at the University under his leadership. Beyond his Saint Peter’s affiliations, Mac Mahon has been cited by Forbes magazine (2004) and the Harvard Business Review (2010) as one of the best performing CEOs in the world. He was LabCorp’s chairman and chief executive officer from 1997 to 2006 and a director from 1996 to 2013.

The long-term master plan for the RLC will dramatically upgrade nearly every facet of the facility. Short-term priorities beyond the arena project include the swimming pool, locker rooms and more. Subsequent phases will be announced as additional funding is secured. The University is currently ushering in an era of campus revitalization with this project as well as a number of others including the construction of a new residence hall, physical and technological enhancements to the Frank J. Guarini School of Business and the addition of a Digital Research Commons in the Theresa and Edward O’Toole Library.

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