The morning of March 8 marked a “groundbreaking” moment in Lancaster Bible College Athletics—and college history. During a 9:15 a.m. ceremony, the college officially broke ground on a new stadium at Donald H. Funk Field—a project that has been in the works for many months.
The lead gift for the project was provided by Willis and Martha Herr. In early February, a student-led group hosted a “Yes We Can” Day of Giving that raised over $20,000 toward the project. Later that week, a generous gift arrived at the college, completing the funding for the project so that construction on the Willis & Martha Herr Stadium could begin in mid-March. Since the Day of Giving, students have raised another $35,000 through individual gifts and business partnerships, for a student-raised total of more than $55,000.
During the ceremony taking place between Donald H. Funk Field and Olewine Dining Commons, Tyler Norris (’21) and Hope Privitera (’20), who helped lead the student fundraising efforts, were joined by LBC | Capital President Dr. Thomas L. Kiedis, Athletic Director Pete Beers and Vice President of Institutional Alignment Rev. Zachary Ritvalsky, who served as emcee.
“One thing that is different about LBC is the mindset instilled into the students,” Privitera said. “The students here are always pushed and challenged to represent Christ inside and out of the classroom and be a light to the community. This advancement in our stadium will allow LBC to become an even more prevalent representation of Christ in this community. We recognize that the ability to proceed in this project is a blessing from the Lord, and ‘every good and perfect gift is from above.’ Here at LBC, we understand this is so much more than a game or a sport or even a stadium. It’s a unified student body striving to glorify the Lord through the gifts and abilities that He’s given.”
Added Norris, “It is both exciting and fulfilling to be a part of Christ’s body here at LBC. We desire that LBC will continue to be a catalyst for the kingdom by shaping disciples to influence the world. We desire this because we wholeheartedly believe in the mission of LBC. We are passionate about LBC’s growth because we want to extend and expand our mission. The more students we bring into LBC, the more people who are shaped as disciples, and it is committed disciples who really make an impact for God’s kingdom.”
Kiedis personally thanked the group of student leaders who spearheaded the fundraising committee, stating, “We are grateful for the investment you all have made in the lives of others through your work.” Besides Norris and Privitera, the group also included: Zachary Keating (’21), Rheeana Miles (’20), Hannah Moynihan (’23) and Nathan Muckle (’22).
“The completion of the Willis & Martha Herr Stadium will allow us to invest in student-athletes for years to come—and that’s a neat thought—to welcome and serve our community, and to continue to run on mission for the glory of Jesus Christ for years and years to come,” Kiedis added. “And for that we are also very, very grateful.”
Official groundbreakers and shovel-turners during the ceremony included: Kiedis, Norris, Privitera and Beers, along with Fiffer and Alan Raush, daughter and son-in-law of Willis and Martha Herr; LBC | Capital Trustee Larry Rohrer; Provost Tricia Wilson; President Emeritus Dr. Peter W. Teague; Vice President of Advancement Scott Keating; Keith Ebersole of Speedwell Construction; and Dennis Funk, representing the Donald H. Funk family and D.H. Funk & Sons, LLC. Additionally, the college welcomed as Angie Eichelberger representing Sen. Scott Martin’s office and several LBC | Capital Board and Corporation members.
Donald H. Funk Field has been a tremendous addition to the college community since opening in September 2018. Men’s & women’s soccer teams play on the field, as do the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams. In addition to those four Division III teams, many other squads utilize the field during the winter months.
The field has been used for intramural sports as well, and many club teams around the Lancaster area have also used the space, thus bringing the local community to campus, too. Because the field has made an impact on the college and local community, the student-athlete fundraising team wanted to make even more of a statement with the stadium project.
“Our vision was to come together as a student body and committee to see the continued growth of our beloved institution,” Norris said prior to the ceremony. “This is important because we wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the college, and we want to continue to see more students become disciples of Christ here at Lancaster Bible College. We believe this project will draw more potential students and student-athletes to consider attending the institution.”
Willis & Martha Herr Stadium will include seating along one side of the field, as well as a brand-new façade along the back side of the bleachers, allowing for even more events to be held at the field. Construction on the stadium will begin the week of March 15, with a goal of completion in time for the fall 2021 sports seasons.
The event was live-streamed on the Chargers Sports Network, where 125 watched the ceremony virtually.
Shovel-turners pictured, left to right: Athletic Director Pete Beers; Provost Tricia Wilson; senior student-athlete Tyler Norris (’21); Trustee Larry Rohrer; Dennis Funk of D.H. Funk & Sons; President Thomas L. Kiedis; Fiffer and Alan Raush, daughter and son-in-law of Willis and Martha Herr; President Emeritus Dr. Peter W. Teague; LBC student-athlete and recent graduate Hope Privitera (’20); Keith Ebersole of Speedwell Construction; and Vice President of Advancement Scott Keating.