University News

Kienzle-Hylbert Stadium propels Denison athletics to new heights

July 7, 2023

Denison University is delighted to announce a leadership gift from Paul Hylbert ʼ66 and his wife, Katharine, for a new lacrosse and soccer stadium. The Hylberts, committed supporters of Denison and passionate advocates for arts, athletics, and education, were inspired by the initial stadium gift made by Rick Kienzle ʼ85 and his wife, Cindy, and hope to encourage others to contribute to subsequent phases of this landmark project.

Ground broke in early June on what will be known as the Kienzle-Hylbert Stadium, which will open for the spring 2024 lacrosse season.

“Just as we supported the Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts and Sharon Martin Hall because of Denison’s tradition of excellence in the arts, we want to do the same for athletics,” said Paul Hylbert, a Denison life trustee. “Students learn in the classroom, on stage, through campus leadership opportunities, and as they train and compete on the field. Coming from a sports-loving and competitive family and having played for Denison myself, this gift is a very meaningful investment for us.”

“Paul and Katharine’s unwavering support demonstrates their strong commitment to Denison’s vision of providing a life-shaping education, world-class arts, and nationally competitive athletic opportunities for our students,” said Denison President Adam Weinberg. “Kienzle-Hylbert Stadium will stand as a testament to their philanthropic leadership and will have a lasting impact on generations of Denisonians.”

The Hylbert family has a long history at Denison and as Big Red athletes. Paul’s father Paul Sr. ’43; uncle Ray Johnson ’42; brother Tony ’72; daughter Jennifer ’88; and sons Scott ’91 and Brian ’01, all played varsity sports, including basketball, golf, soccer, and lacrosse, and competed in club ice hockey and rugby. The family understands the power of athletics to forge enduring bonds — many of Paul’s teammates remain among his greatest friends.

“Our gift reflects our deep appreciation for those who coached and mentored me: Keith Piper and Bob Shannon in football, Bill Preston in ice hockey, and George Hill in football and baseball,” Hylbert said. “It also recognizes those like Sid Jenkins, Ted Barclay, Lynn Schweitzer, Mike Caravana, and Rob Russo, who coached other family members. Equally important, though, our gift supports an outstanding group of Denison coaches under the leadership of Athletic Director Nan Carney-Debord’s ’80, coaches whose excellence in their fields mirrors the excellence of our academic faculty. We see this gift as a vote of confidence in a new generation of leaders like Brandon Bianco, Sarah Brink, Amanda Daniels, Eric Koch, and all of the great coaches who make Denison one of the outstanding DIII athletic programs in the country.”

“Students learn in the classroom, on stage, through campus leadership opportunities, and as they train and compete on the field.”

“Our outstanding student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and staff deserve our support, and the Hylberts’ generous contribution is a testament to their belief in the transformative power of athletics,” Carney-DeBord said. “Kienzle-Hylbert Stadium will provide a nationally prominent facility for our lacrosse and soccer teams and add a much-needed turf field to campus to alleviate stress on our existing facilities. Beyond varsity athletics, this project will provide a new resource for club and intramural teams and the campus community.”

As Denison embarks on the next phase of fundraising for the stadium project, the university encourages alums, parents, and supporters to take part in building this new era for Big Red athletics. Phase II is well underway and is focused on establishing endowed funds to maintain the stadium in perpetuity. Phase III will fund the construction of a complementary facility with locker rooms, practice space, and training rooms. By investing in this project, Denisonians contribute to the continued success of the renowned lacrosse and soccer programs and the overall enhancement of the campus landscape.

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