Inside a big, white tent a few steps off Wayne Avenue, university and regional leaders broke ground in November for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. At the same time, YouTube cofounder and CEO Chad Hurley ’99 announced a million-dollar gift to name the complex’s arena for his IUP track and field coach. Ed Fry will retire this year after more than four decades as a music professor and coach at IUP.
“A new day is dawning in Indiana County,” President Tony Atwater said, “and the symbol of that new day is the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex. The KCAC will be the engine, the missing link, and the catalyst for economic and cultural revitalization in the Indiana region and beyond.”
Other speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony reflected the broad coalition of government, corporate, and university entities that had brought the multiyear project to this point. They included Liz O’Reilly from the Pennsylvania Department of General Services; Indiana County Commissioners chairman Rodney Ruddock ’65, M’75; representatives from the offices of U.S. Congressman John Murtha and Pennsylvania State Senator Don White; and David Osikowicz, chairperson of the IUP Council of Trustees.
Three generations of the Kovalchick family attended the groundbreaking, including Jacob, left; his mother and father, Karen and Nathan; and his grandmother, Judith Geyer Kovalchick ’65, M’69.
YouTube cofounder and CEO Chad Hurley ’99 made a million-dollar gift to the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex to name the complex’s arena in honor of coach Ed Fry.
Another speaker was Joseph Kovalchick, whose family had owned the land on which the KCAC will be built and which made a $2-million gift toward its construction. He described the founding of the Kovalchick Corporation in 1928, just before the onset of the Great Depression. Those were difficult times, he said, but Nick and Fannie Kovalchick, the company founders, worked hard and prevailed.
“When you see the KCAC,” he said, “keep in mind that it’s a living memorial to those two people, my parents.”
Hurley also alluded to the 2008 economic downturn. “During hard times, we need to rise to the occasion and make a difference,” he said. “We need to keep going, to plan still more projects. Anything, after all, is possible. Even my Phillies won the World Series.”
Hurley challenged alumni, students, and the community to support the KCAC. He was, he said, glad for the chance “to honor my old coach, Ed Fry, who has dedicated more than forty years to students and to IUP and is in his last year of coaching.”
He now lives in California, but Hurley said, “I’m proud to be from Pennsylvania, and I’m proud to be from IUP.”
For more information about the KCAC, visit the KCAC website.