A new sports-and-wellness center that’s set to open late next year at Elizabethtown College will be named for a couple who met at the college and married before embarking on their careers.
Kenneth and Rosalie Bowers, from E-town classes of 1959 and 1958, respectively, have agreed to contribute $5 million to E-town’s “Be Inspired” effort, the $50 million capital campaign the college launched a year ago.
In recognition of their support, the college said it will name a new $23.4-million sports facility “the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Wellness.”
The 78,000-square-foot-plus Bowers Center will house wellness programming, intramural and club sports, and intercollegiate athletics, Elizabethtown officials said.
The facility will offer group fitness studios; cardio, strength and conditioning areas; a track; wellness classrooms; meeting and gathering spaces for students; a cafe; a spin studio; training and athletic treatment areas; and office space for health educators and campus recreation.
College President Carl Strikwerda vowed in a college news release that the new center will be for “every student, every day.” Construction on the Bowers Center is to begin this fall, with completion expected by December 2018, the college said.
With the $5 million gift, more than $45 million has now been raised for the “Be Inspired” campaign, which was believed to be the first cyber fundraising launch ever conducted by a college or university.
The $45 million total includes $37 million in cash and cash commitments and an additional $8 million in expected bequests, the college said.
Ken and Rosalie Bowers met on the E-town campus in 1955, earned bachelor’s degrees and initially were high-school teachers, with Rosalie Bowers teaching English and Spanish and Ken Bowers teaching English and journalism.
They married in 1960, and returned to E-town from 1961 to 1967, with Ken Bowers serving as sports information director and teaching journalism and his wife working as a librarian and teaching Spanish.
Ken Bowers subsequently joined Hershey Foods Corp. to help establish a broadened public relations department. He eventually retired as vice president of corporate communications at Hershey Foods. His wife was assistant corporate secretary at the former Pennsylvania Blue Shield.