A team of former Cameron University softball players faced off against a team composed of members of the Lawton Fire Department and the Lawton Police Department following the dedication of McMahon Field and Athletics Center - after, that is, a softball was delivered to the pitcher’s mound via parachute. Prior to the game, Cameron President Cindy Ross, speaking from the field, welcomed community members as well as Cameron students, faculty and staff and invited them to tour the new facility. Dignitaries in attendance included Kenneth Bridges, Chairman of the McMahon Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as other members of the McMahon Foundation board.
“Welcome to our ‘field of dreams’,” President Ross said. “Thank you for joining us for another historic day at Cameron University. We are excited by the completion of this state-of-the-art athletics complex, the new home of Aggie softball. It is a team richly deserving of this new facility.”
Cameron student Sonora Zukerman, a member of the Aggie softball team, spoke of how the new facility would benefit not only her team but all members of Aggie athletics. She also expressed the appreciation of her teammates to the McMahon Foundation for its financial support of the complex.
President Ross also acknowledged the contribution of the McMahon Foundation.
“Similar to so many other historic events at Cameron University, we are only here today because of the generosity of the McMahon Foundation,” she said. “The McMahon Foundation stepped up to the plate with a gift of $1 million to make this new complex possible. Because the foundation’s gift of $1 million is the largest single gift in the history of Cameron athletics, it is fitting that the honor of throwing out the first pitch for the first game to be played at McMahon Field and Athletics Center go to Kenneth Bridges, Chairman of the McMahon Foundation Board of Trustees.”
As Bridges joined President Ross, they discovered that no softball was on hand – until, that is, a parachutist began his descent. Sgt. First Class (Ret.) Dana Bowman, a double amputee, delivered the game ball after landing on the field.
During his tenure in the U.S. Army, Bowman served in Special Forces and was a member of Golden Knights, the Army’s elite parachute team. He lost his legs in 1994 during a training accident in which his jumping partner died. Nine months after the accident, Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the Army, doing so while skydiving with his commander into the ceremony. He became the U.S. Parachute Team’s lead speaker and recruiting commander. He retired from the Army in 1996 and earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial aviation in 2000. Today, he strives to demonstrate that physically challenged people can still work and excel in today’s society and military.
“Dana epitomizes the triumph of the human spirit,” President Ross said.
McMahon Field and Athletics Center is named in recognition of the McMahon Foundation, which has been a steadfast supporter of Cameron University since 1963 and has provided almost $16 million to the university through the years. Previous gifts include the largest single gift - $4 million – in the university’s history for the McMahon Centennial Complex (MCC), $1.25 million for the McMahon Learning Center at Cameron Village and $1 million for the Academic Commons. Additionally, the McMahon Foundation has provided funding for scholarships; support for academic programs, KCCU and athletics programs including tennis, golf and baseball; and construction of the Louise D. McMahon Fine Arts Complex and the McMahon Foundation Tennis Courts.
The complex is located across 38th Street from McCord Field, in close proximity to Cameron Stadium parking. Features include dressing and locker rooms for the team and umpires, a press box, a concession facility, an equipment storage room, covered bleachers, landscaped patio spaces with sun shades for additional viewing areas, an indoor practice facility with batting cages for both baseball and softball, indoor hitting for golf and a new weight room for all Cameron athletes.
McMahon Field and Athletics Center adds to the more than $60 million in construction that has transformed the Cameron campus over the past 10 years, joining the Academic Commons, the Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES), the CETES Conference Center, Cameron Village, Cynthia S. Ross Hall (formerly known as the School of Business Building), the McMahon Centennial Complex and the Bentley Gardens in recent construction. Each of these capital improvements has played a part in Cameron’s status as the “Location of Choice” for community events and as the “University of Choice” for students throughout Southwest Oklahoma and beyond.
June 11, 2013