Donors Give Names to KCAC Spaces

Gifts in recent months brought not only financial support for the $41-million Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex but also gave names to actual spaces within the complex.


A list of designations made as of mid-May appears at the conclusion of this article. The gifts are part of the Indiana Initiative—a capital campaign to raise $20 million in funding as a match to $20 million in state funds to build the complex.

Judy Kovalchick

Judith Kovalchick with the framed trustees’ resolution for the naming of the Kovalchick Center

The Kovalchick family of Indiana pledged a minimum of 10 percent of the Indiana Initiative. “We’ve been involved in this community for a long, long time,” Joseph Kovalchick said at an IUP Council of Trustees meeting. “We’ve been very close friends and neighbors of the university and the university community, as well as of Indiana.” Kovalchick’s wife, Judith Geyer Kovalchick, received a bachelor’s degree from IUP in 1965 and a master’s degree in 1969; Joseph Kovalchick attended the campus’s John A.H. Keith School. 

Kovalchick said he saw the KCAC as a “much higher and better use of this property than as operation for our steel business.” The family’s gift, he said, was “to honor the memory of my parents, Nick and Fannie Kovalchick,” who in 1928 founded what is now Kovalchick Corporation.

“The Kovalchick family has been extremely supportive of this project from its very inception,” IUP President Tony Atwater said. This was affirmed by Joseph Kovalchick, who said, “We’ve thought about this for the last seventeen years.”

In recognition of the Kovalchick gift, announced in February, the IUP Council of Trustees approved naming the facility the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

Joseph Kovalchick, left, with IUP President Tony Atwater

Joseph Kovalchick, left, with IUP President Tony Atwater

The Kovalchick family’s gift adds to the significant momentum that we have already seen from our alumni, community partners, and friends in support of this project,” said Robert Davies, vice president for University Relations and executive director of the Foundation for IUP.

The 150,000-square foot facility will feature a large-capacity arena, athletic department administration offices, and state-of-the-art conferencing facilities. While owned and managed by IUP, the center will serve as a resource for the community. Groundbreaking will take place next spring, with site construction to commence that June. Actual building construction, anticipated to begin in February, 2009, is predicted to take two years.

The main entrance to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex will be opposite Hospital Road along Wayne Avenue. Truck traffic will have access via Maple Street to Pratt Drive, which will run behind the building. The thirty-three-acre tract’s ecological integrity will be maintained through retention of wetlands and streams on the site.

With the Kovalchick family pledge, IUP has secured nearly $10 million in charitable contributions for the center in private support and federal funding. The federal funds were earmarked for the facility through the leadership of Congressman John Murtha.

Other charitable contributions and spaces to be named within the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Center include the following:

  • From Gary Buterbaugh ’67 in honor of his parents, Milford E. and Betty J. Buterbaugh, for their fiftieth wedding anniversary to name the Bald Eagle Room Family Lounge.
  • From Sandy ’67 and Bill Diefenderfer in memory of Sandy’s grandparents to name the Elizabeth and Rocco DeChurch Main Entry Lobby.
  • From John and Dorothy Eck in memory of John’s mother to name the Pauline Ace Eck Training Room.
  • From First Commonwealth Financial Corporation in memory of James Trimarchi to name the E. James Trimarchi Pavilion.
  • From the Hardy Family Trust in honor of Christine Toretti to name the Christine Toretti Auditorium.
  • From the Harrisburg Area IUP Alumni Chapter to name the Harrisburg Area IUP Alumni Chapter Classroom.
  • From the Indiana Gazette, Mike and Linda Donnelly, Eric and Stacie Gottfredson, and Frank and Hastie Kinter in memory of Joe and Lucy Donnelly to name the Joe and Lucy Donnelly Press Media Room.
  • From Indiana First Bank to name the Indiana First Bank Food Court.
  • From various IUP alumni to name the IUP Alumni Terrace.
  • From the IUP Ambassadors to name the IUP Ambassadors Classroom.
  • From S. P. McCarl and Company, Inc., to name the Shawn and Kim ’83 McCarl Classroom.
  • From Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, Theta Pentaton Chapter, to name the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, Theta Pentaton Chapter, Greek Wall of Recognition.
  • From T. W. Phillips Gas and Oil Co. to name the T. W. Phillips Gas and Oil Co. Board Room/Global Conferencing Room.
  • From S&T Bank to affix to the arena floor the name S&T Bank.
  • From Sheetz, Inc., to affix to two of the four sides of the center’s rotating scoreboard the name Sheetz.
  • From children Charles, William, Jo-Una, and Cecil Spadafora to name the Cecil and Ann Spadafora Healthcare Station.
  • From William Stefan, Jr., and Bentley Development Company to name the Stefan Family and Bentley Development Company Visitor Display Center.
  • From Harry and Elsie Young to name the Harry and Elsie Young Classroom.

The continuing progress of the KCAC can be tracked at the KCAC website.