Last Saturday the Millersville University baseball field received a name change in honor of former Marauder baseball player Bennett J. Cooper, a 1967 graduate who has made generous contributions to the program in the form of academic scholarships for players. Formerly named Marauder Park, the field has now been named Bennett J. Cooper Park with upgrades including a beautiful new windscreen and signage to the facility’s fence. The dedication ceremony consisted of a short luncheon with speakers including Peg Kauffman, Dr. Breaux, Dr. Anderson and Bennett Cooper.
Head baseball coach Jonathan Shenan said, “The gift that the Cooper’s provided will leave a lasting impact on our program in the form of endowed scholarship dollars. Each and every player who receives athletic aid for years to come will be able to thank the Coopers for their gift to our program. The Cooper’s gift is going to allow us, as a coaching staff, to recruit more outstanding prospective student-athletes than ever before-ensuring long lasting success.”
Coach Shenan believes Mr. Cooper is a wonderful example of a self-made man who graduated from Millersville and uses his experiences here to become overly successful in his field. “Even though his success is impressive, the true example that we can all learn form him is the generosity of he and his wife Joanne. Millersville is a wonderful place and it has impacted many of us in amazing ways. Whether it be through time or financial contributions, we can all give back in some way, shape or form,” Shenan said.
Cooper played both baseball and football at Millersville from 1964-67 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. Since graduating Millersville he has been a long-time supporter of the university in ways such as serving as the vice-chair of the Soar to Greatness Capital Campaign which raised $88 million dollars to fund critical needs at the University. Of the ceremony on Saturday Cooper remarked that he was proud and humbled to have the president of the university, his family, close friends, former coaches, and the current baseball team at this once in a lifetime experience.
“I am very grateful and appreciative of the role that Millersville played in my development as a person and ultimately in my business career. The university prepared me to go on to law school and participation in sports such as baseball and football brought a discipline and focus that I carried with me throughout my life. I met my wife, Joanne Wargo Cooper, at Millersville and I wanted to give something back to a university and an experience that had given me so much,” Cooper said.
Cooper believes sports play an essential role at a university because they give students a place to gather and enjoy time away from studies while exhibiting pride for their school. He encourages all graduates to give back to an organization or place that has made a difference in their lives. “When we do this, we always get back more than we give and that’s what happened for me at Millersville. I would encourage all of our graduates and friends of our university to experience this feeling…to stay in touch with their university and to do whatever they can to make things even better for the students following in their footsteps,” said Cooper.