May 19, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- The Mike Gary Athletic Fund pushed past the half million dollar mark this year, achieving a total of $520,000 in gifts and pledges for a 13.5 percent increase over last year.
"Because of the hard work and dedication of our 38 volunteers, the campaign is a big success," said Gary Cramer, this year's chairperson. "The result gives a sizable boost to WMU's student athletes, and lets them know the community is behind them."
Stephen M. Keizer, director of the Gary Fund, agreed. "This year's volunteers did an outstanding job in topping their $483,000 goal," he said. "With the community-wide ticket drive and the near completion of the campaign for the Bronco Alumni Football Center, the volunteers really had to be informed and determined."
Jerry Meinzinger, this year's chairperson-elect, takes over the campaign leadership for next year with big shoes to fill. With this year's strong season and bright 1998-99 prospects, next year's campaign is expected to be equally as successful.
Meinzinger, a retired Pharmacia & Upjohn executive, is a long-time Bronco supporter. Cramer and his wife, Jan, recently established a WMU scholarship for high school graduates who live in Kalamazoo Township. Gary Cramer is supervisor of the township and Jan Cramer operates a pre-school there.
Cramer and Meinzinger led seven teams captained by Gary Gunia, Gitta Kudlicki, Jim Lamborn, Larry Leuth, Jim McIntyre, Fred Sitkins and Lou White.
Although the volunteer portion of the Gary Fund campaign has come to an end and the goal reached, gifts and pledges still are being totaled through June 30, when gifts to athletics are expected to exceed $550,000, Keizer said. Contributions can be made through the WMU Foundation by contacting him at (616) 387-8713.
The Gary Fund, founded in 1956, provides direct financial support for WMU's nine men's and nine women's sports. Support includes funds for student-athlete scholarships, travel and special equipment purchases.
Media contact: Mike Matthews; firstname.lastname@example.org
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