Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in baseball history, gave some of his riches back to the University of Miami to renovate Mark Light Stadium, and to start a scholarship for the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Rodriguez announced his plans of the $3.9 million donation at a press conference on Thursday, along with the renaming of Mark Light Stadium, which will become Alex Rodriguez Park.
“Through this generous contribution, the university will continue to enhance the campus environment and our top ranked baseball program,” said University of Miami President Donna Shalala.
Rodriguez also announced his intention to enroll in the University of Miami, where he was accepted years ago, but never was able to come because of his choice to play professional baseball. By enrolling, Rodriguez will work to get a degree, and fulfill a promise he made years ago.
“I chose baseball first, but I always expected- and promised my mother, I would one day enroll in college and get my degree. That day has arrived,” said the all-star shortstop.
Along with his enrollment, Rodriguez has started a scholarship for the Boys and Girls club. Every year, Rodriguez will give a scholarship to Boys and Girls Club alumni to continue their education at the University of Miami.
“With the help of the Boys and Girls Club, there will be a scholarship to an alumni of the club to continue their education here at the University of Miami,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has been much maligned for signing the largest contract in the history of baseball, but he has shown generosity to several organizations, and this recent donation to the University of Miami makes sense, since Rodriguez has always considered this school his home.
“As a kid growing up, we didn’t have a pro team. I had Mark Light Stadium and Coach Frazier. For me, this was my Yankee Stadium, my Dodger Stadium, and my Candlestick Park. This is a very special place to me,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is often seen around the University of Miami. As a kid, he was a batboy for the team, and ever since then, Rodriguez has had a strong tie to the university. He is often seen working out on campus, or spending time around the University. Rodriguez will be enrolling, so he will be around the school a lot more in the future.
Through these donations, Alex Rodriguez showed not only his great talent as a baseball player, but also his greatness as a person.
“Alex Rodriguez is better than everyone else, and he demonstrated that today with his great citizenship,” said Shalala.
The donation marks the largest donation ever given to the University of Miami baseball program. The donation will allow UM, who had the first ever college baseball stadium, to have an elite facility to play in once again.
“This is an important step to keeping our program on top,” said head coach Jim Morris.
Rodriguez saidhe has always been treated as a member of the Hurricane family, and now, with his enrollment and donation, he officially will be. The baseball team also presented Rodriguez with his own Hurricanes jersey, no. 3 with his name on the back.
“We are thrilled he has given us the means to renovate our ballpark. Too bad he can’t play shortstop for us,” said Morris.
You can reach Darren Grossman at email@example.com.