A new meeting place for sports enthusiasts and players that will also help attract top student athletes opened today at the University of Guelph.
The new pavilion, adjacent to Alumni Stadium near College Avenue, is located on a campus road that has been renamed Lang Way for the facility’s benefactors, including a former varsity head football coach. Stu and Kim Lang provided funding for the new facility through their Angel Gabriel Foundation.
During an opening ceremony, U of G president Franco Vaccarino said the pavilion symbolizes the University’s commitment to “the whole student” and to connecting communities.
“We emphasize not only academic and intellectual excellence but also physical, emotional and mental health and wellness,” Vaccarino said.
“This facility epitomizes that, and is also an example of the power of community partnerships — in this case, our relationship with Stu and Kim Lang and the Angel Gabriel Foundation.”
The Angel Gabriel Foundation has supported numerous learning and humanitarian projects at U of G and in Guelph, including establishing the Summerlee Humanitarian Scholarships and sending four varsity football players to Ecuador as community volunteers with the Me-to-We organization.
Among its gifts to U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College through Pet Trust, the foundation most recently supported an anesthesia and pain management unit within OVC’s Health Sciences Centre.
Kim Lang serves as the artistic director of the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.
The pavilion is located at 15 Lang Way; 15 is the number Stu Lang wore while playing for the Edmonton Eskimos and winning five Grey Cups.
“Renaming the street symbolizes our gratitude to the Langs for their longtime and continued support of the University,” Vaccarino said.
The new facility houses a locker room and lounge, meeting rooms and a rooftop patio for spectators to watch varsity Gryphons and other sports at the stadium. It will also be used for alumni and donor events, and includes landscaping and a “champions corner.”
“I had been wanting to build this while I was coach, to create a home for players and alumni,” Lang said.
“Kim and I believe there are two classrooms on this campus: the traditional classroom and the athletic field. On the athletic field, you learn about dealing with challenges, handling success and pulling together with people who are different from you. That’s why we continue to support the University.”
Lang led the Gryphons to the Ontario university football title in 2015, winning the Yates Cup.
He said the pavilion will allow U of G to compete for varsity recruits with schools across North America. “This facility, along with the new athletics centre, will hopefully help keep top athletes at home.”
Co-op students will be hired to work in the pavilion on varsity fundraising, with one-third of the funds designated to support women’s varsity sports.
“Our family has always tried to be loyal to the community and we feel a commitment to the University of Guelph,” Lang said.
“We really like the direction of U of G and what they’re trying to do here. I’m really happy with the way the facility looks and very excited to show it to the players and the community.”