Lee Anderson USMA'61 and His Wife, Penny,
Pledge $6 Million to Support Army Rugby!

The Association of Graduates is very pleased to report that Mr. and Mrs. Lee Anderson have committed to making a $6 million gift to help fund the new Army Rugby Center. This commitment comes on the heels of several other extremely generous gifts from Lee and Penny during the Bicentennial Campaign for West Point.

Lee and Penny Anderson were Leadership Donors to the Bicentennial Campaign for West Point, making extremely generous gifts to both the Department of History's Staff Ride Endowment and the Kimsey Athletic Center. With this new commitment, they continue to demonstrate their exceptional personal leadership.

 

The Importance of Athletics in Developing Leaders

West Point has long recognized the value of athletic competition to the development of our nation's future military leaders. General Douglas MacArthur's famous statement, "On these fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other fields and other days will bear the fruits of victory" is accepted as literal truth at West Point.

Athletics at West Point certainly helped Lee Anderson develop the leadership skills that have played a critical role in his success throughout life. As a plebe, Lee played on the Corps Squad football, basketball and track teams. He then decided to focus his efforts on basketball where he made substantial contributions to the Army Team for the next three years.

 
The Importance of Top-Quality Facilities

During the last decade, the Academy's athletic facilities had fallen into a degree of disrepair that impacted West Point's ability to recruit and train talented cadet-athletes. The recent, successful Bicentennial Campaign for West Point made substantial headway in remedying this, through the generosity and vision of alumni, friends and corporations who donated two hundred million in private gifts to support the Academy. But critical needs remain as West Point seeks to provide state-of-the-art athletic facilities and services that will even the playing field and make USMA competitive with other top-tier military and civilian institutions.

It is now time to create a home for the Army Rugby Team. For over 40 years, Army Rugby has been West Point's most winning sport and yet the team has had neither a permanent home nor an adequate training facility. Rugby has expanded to include both men's and women's teams, and intramural teams. The Superintendent has confirmed this project as a priority need and the Association of Graduates has committed to raise the funds to construct an Army Rugby Center. With this lead pledge from Lee and Penny Anderson, the vision for a new home for Army Rugby has made a tremendous stride towards becoming reality!

 
The Army Rugby Team

The Rugby Club was first officially organized in 1961. Since that time, the program has become one of the premier rugby programs in the country. With over 400 colleges fielding men's rugby teams, the Army team has placed in the Final Four nationwide in ten of the past fifteen years. Rugby is the fastest growing collegiate sport in the United States with several institutions promoting their rugby programs from club to varsity level.

More than any other sport, rugby is related to ground maneuver warfare. Imposing one's will by force upon the opposition through fear, fog and friction requires technical, tactical and strategic skills. Players develop split second decision-making abilities, physical endurance, courage and selfless commitment to a common cause. Rugby by its very nature imbues the warrior spirit.

While the challenge of intercollegiate rugby competition will continue to be a positive leadership development experience for cadets, continued success at the highest levels must be viewed against the emerging background of increasingly competitive and better resourced collegiate teams nationwide. Several dozen of the most competitive collegiate rugby teams have endowed rugby programs. These programs recruit and pay coaches, offer student financial aid, support a robust training and travel budget and have dedicated rugby training facilities that rival those of most Division I varsity sports. To continue competing with these programs, it is imperative to invest in Army Rugby to provide cadets with facilities and equipment so that they can continue to reach their full potential as athletes and leaders.

 
The Army Rugby Sports Complex (click this link for information on this facility.)
The Army Rugby Sports Complex will fill a desperate void in infrastructure and provide a fitting venue for this highly successful, nationally recognized program. It will serve as a tribute to the past success of Army Rugby and will provide critical training resources to ensure continued success at the national level in years to come. This new athletic facility will greatly enhance the Military Academy's reputation as a center of athletic excellence.

The plans for the Complex include a fully furnished, two story building (The Rugby Center) and two full-sized, floodlit rugby pitches (fields). The Center will include a strength development room, a training room, home and visitor showers and locker rooms, catering facilities, a cardio-pulmonary fitness area, a coaches' office, a camera station, classroom space, exhibit space, and a Great Room (multi-purpose room) overlooking the pitch. In addition to the Center and two pitches, the exterior facility will also include a seating area with permanent seating for 600 and portable stands for 1,000, a scoreboard, public restrooms and 2 flagpoles. A facility of such quality will attract national and international level competitions with the associated media coverage.

West Point, the Army Rugby teams and the Association of Graduates want to express their deepest gratitude to Lee and Penny Anderson for continuing to set a great example for others through their legendary generosity to USMA, and now to Army Rugby! With this lead commitment in place, it is now time to ask the rest of the Army Rugby family and anyone who loves a winner to step forward and join Lee and Penny with their own pledge of support to the Army Rugby Sports Complex. If you want to help, please call Mr. Mike Hogan (845) 446-1553.

 
Mr. and Mrs. Lee Anderson with the BDE Staff, June 2001.