or over 40 years—through countless victories, national titles, and Mustang glory—Mount Mercy’s outdoor athletes have never had a home field to call their own. To simply practice and play, alternative spaces scattered throughout Cedar Rapids were rented, making it difficult for athletes to train, compete, and generate much-deserved fan enthusiasm. With the 2013 acquisition of 22 acres of land a few blocks down the Hill, Mount Mercy will debut a premier outdoor athletic complex in 2017, finally giving its outdoor student athletes a home field advantage. The $15 million Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex will provide a permanent home for baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, and men’s and women’s soccer—six of the University’s 17 intercollegiate athletic teams. The Complex honors Robert Plaster, co-founder and active supporter of Enactus (formerly Students in Free Enterprise), a student, business, and entrepreneurship organization, with an award-winning chapter on Mount Mercy’s campus. Achieving substantial success without a college degree, Plaster believed that hard work and the free enterprise system gave him the opportunity he needed. Respecting the increasing value of higher education, Plaster set out to create educational opportunities for young people, giving them more than he had. To that end, in 1983, he established the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, dedicated to creating enhanced learning environments in the Midwest through named capital projects and state-of-the-art facilities. Mount Mercy’s Plaster Athletic Complex would not have been possible without the generous support of the HallPerrine Foundation. The Foundation enriches the quality of life for the Linn County, Iowa, area by supporting important social, cultural, educational, and health care causes. Underscoring the many educational and community benefits the Plaster Athletic Complex brings to the University and community, the Hall-Perrine Foundation awarded a $4 million, 2:1 matching grant for the project. Howard Hall, founder of the foundation that bears his name, was a leader in the economic development of Cedar Rapids. He brought many industries to the city, including Iowa Manufacturing—which, as fate would have it, once stood on the very site where the Plaster Athletic Complex now stands. One of the key highlights of the storied 22-acre site is Busse Softball Field, made possible with a lead gift from the Lavern T. and Audrey Busse Foundation. Longtime Mount Mercy donors, the Busse family has supported student scholarships, contributed to the Sisters of Mercy University Center project, and made the principal naming gift for Mount Mercy’s Busse Library, which opened in 1993. Avid softball enthusiasts, supporting Mustang Softball at the Plaster Athletic Complex was a perfect match for Lavern and Audrey— further enhancing the Mount Mercy-Busse legacy.
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