Kesselman Fund Will Support Club and Intramural Sports
Galloway, N.J. - Stockton’s table tennis team may not be as well-known as the N.J. Athletic Conference champion men’s basketball team, but a new fund endowed by President Harvey Kesselman and First Lady Lynne Kesselman will help them and other club teams attend competitions and enhance their presence on and off campus.
The Kesselmans signed an agreement May 5 in the Stockton esports gaming room creating the $25,000 Kesselman Club Sports & Intramurals Achievement Fund. The fund will help pay for costs such as tournament entry fees and travel for students in the more than 20 club and intramural sports at Stockton.
“It is important to us that you have the opportunity to go to competitions,” Lynne Kesselman said. “You are representing Stockton University and we are proud of you.”
Stockton club and intramural sports include cheerleading, ice hockey, bowling, esports, ultimate frisbee, flag football, bowling, Quidditch, fishing, fencing, co-ed tennis, indoor soccer and men’s rowing, volleyball and golf.
Esports teams compete in multiple games and the Rocket League team has qualified for a national and international tournament in May and June. The flag football and Quidditch teams have also traveled out of state for tournaments. The table tennis team recently competed in a tournament against teams from Princeton and Rutgers.
“That was the first time we really put ourselves out there in a competition,” said table tennis club president Austin Rajput of Egg Harbor Township, a junior biochemistry major. “Our biggest fear is always ‘what happens next year’ and our ability to recruit and get our name out. This will help.”
Jeff Haines, associate director of athletics and recreation, said on average some 300 students per year play a club or intramural sport. Many belong to organizations that offer competitive opportunities for students. He said the university supports the programs on campus, but there is no dedicated fund to help pay for extra items like travel and tournament costs and students typically do their own fundraising.
Haines said one of his goals has been to work with the club and intramural sports to develop intercollegiate branding that is consistent with the university and varsity athletics. Some clubs now have Osprey-themed t-shirts and jerseys that they wear on campus and when they compete, helping to spread the Stockton name.
“We wear our jerseys out all the time,” Rajput said. “It shows we’re not just a bunch of Stockton students, we are a Stockton team.”
Nichole Moore of Galloway, a 2018 graduate who works with the judo club, said just having t-shirts and some equipment is a help.
“It creates an environment,” she said. “It helps us get the word out about the club, allows us to compete, and get lessons.”
Stockton Athletic Director Anthony Berich said while they don’t get the same level of attention as varsity sports, the club and intramural athletes work just as hard at practice and competition.
“This is a great recognition for them,” he said.
President Kesselman said club and intramurals have been an integral part of Stockton since it opened 50 years ago.
“These sports are life skills you can do forever,” he said. “College is not just about academics. We want you to know how much we value this part of your college experience. We are investing in you and hope others will too.”
This is the third fund the Kesselmans have endowed in their decades of giving. Both Stockton graduates and the first in their families to attend college, the couple previously endowed two scholarship funds to benefit future generations of students like themselves.
“To date the Kesselmans have personally gifted in excess of $100,000 in support of Stockton students,” said Stockton Chief Development Officer Dan Nugent.
The new fund will be managed by the Stockton Foundation, which also manages scholarship funds for students. Chair Donna Buzby said she welcomes adding a fund that expands opportunities for students beyond academics.
“We are helping students become well-rounded individuals,” Buzby said.
For more information on the fund and how to contribute, contact Daniel Nugent at Daniel.Nugent@stockton.edu or call 609 652-4753.
- Story and photos by Diane D'Amico
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Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205