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Highland Park's Larry Goodman funds Roosevelt University's Goodman Center

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Lillian and Larry Goodman Center at Roosevelt University, located at 501 S. Wabash Avenue, was held on Wednesday, July 31 at 11 a.m. The 27,834-gross-square-foot field house located at one of Chicago’s most prominent intersections, the southeast corner of Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue, is home to Roosevelt’s 16 athletics programs and the first stand-alone facility for college athletics in Chicago’s Loop.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will commemorate the opening of the entire facility, as the first-floor space featuring coach and staff offices, meeting rooms, team lounges, locker rooms, an athletic training area and a strength and conditioning center was completed last week. The new center contains a multi-purpose gymnasium on the second floor, which was opened to the public for the first time on December 1, 2012 to host the Roosevelt basketball teams’ games against Trinity Christian as the remainder of the building was built out.

The gym, which features retractable bleacher seating for approximately 500 people and six retractable basketball hoops, is used for numerous Roosevelt activities in addition to being the practice and competition home for the Roosevelt Lakers men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams. The gym is also used by other Roosevelt athletic teams for team training,

in addition to housing intramural events and hosting various campus functions for the entire Roosevelt community.

Larry Goodman of Highland Park, a life-long Chicagoan, entrepreneur, philanthropist and sports enthusiast, made the lead donation for the project to greatly enhance student campus life at Roosevelt. In honor of Mr. Goodman’s generosity and dedication to the Roosevelt community, the facility is named after Mr. Goodman and his late wife, Lillian.

“This building is more than a gymnasium,” said Mr. Goodman. “It is a symbol of community and student pride for Roosevelt University. I was looking for a project where I could give back to the community-the City of Chicago-and this is it.”

The completion of the Goodman Center marks a major milestone in the young history of Roosevelt’s intercollegiate athletic program. During the 2010-11 academic year, Roosevelt reinstated intercollegiate athletics for men after a 21-year absence and started an athletics program for women for the first time. The Roosevelt Lakers compete at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball.

“The completion of this facility is a real milestone moment for our Roosevelt community, and our athletic department,” said Michael Cassidy, director of intercollegiate athletics and assistant vice president for health and human wellness. “This facility will be an epicenter of University pride and spirit. It will be a place our students can compete, recreate and have experiences that will carry them long after graduation. We are grateful to all of those who helped take this project from a parking lot to a palace, especially the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation for their generosity and vision of what this place could become.”

Featuring a number of sustainable features, including a 3,500-square-foot green roof with native plants, the Goodman Center is LEED certified. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and built by Power Construction, the project began on July 26, 2011 and ended on July 24, 2013. The project cost an estimated $12.1 million. A forerunner of the modern self-service discount department store, Mr. Goodman founded the Community Discount Store chain in 1946.

Always an innovator, he was the first department store TV advertiser and hosted the Sunday afternoon children’s programs Flash Gordon and the Outer Space Quiz Show. Mr. Goodman sold the Community Discount Store as a 35-store chain and, since 1965, has owned and operated shopping centers and office buildings nationwide. In 1994, Mr. Goodman and his late wife, Lillian, founded the Skokie based Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation, focusing their philanthropic efforts on teen drug abuse prevention, hunger issues, Jewish overnight camps, organizations in Israel, and various charities in Chicago and worldwide.

The Cebrin Goodman Center, an affiliate of the Foundation, is committed to effective teen drug prevention efforts and provides grants to organizations whose expertise, vision, and passion uniquely position them to help young people develop the strengths to resist the formidable lure of drugs. When Mr. Goodman learned that the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy was housed at Roosevelt, he knew that his personal mission was perfectly aligned with that of the University. In October 2012, The Cebrin Goodman Center and Roosevelt partnered on a public symposium and an awards ceremony that honored Illinois residents who had distinguished themselves in the area of substance abuse prevention.

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