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Air Force Academy Spirit

Academy receives $5-million donation

The Air Force Academy received a $5-million donation through the USAFA Endowment to fund the construction of a new indoor athletic training facility.

The Air Force Academy received a $5-million donation through the USAFA Endowment to fund the construction of a new indoor athletic training facility.

From the USAFA Endowment


The Air Force Academy received a $5-million contribution March 15 through the USAFA Endowment from 1965 graduate Bart Holaday and his wife, Lynn, toward the construction of a new indoor athletic training facility.

The contribution marks the largest gift from a graduate to the Academy in the institution’s history.

“This athletic facility will allow our cadets to safely train all year-round,” said Dr. Hans Mueh, the director of Academy Athletics. “This is a tremendous step forward for the athletics program and the Academy in terms of providing vital support for our cadets’ development and success.”

The indoor training facility is slated for completion by early 2011. The 92,000 square-foot center will house a regulation-sized field that can accommodate football, lacrosse, and soccer, in addition to many other athletic activities. The demand for practice time in the Cadet Field House, which was built in 1968, far exceeds the building’s capacity.

The new facility will support the intensive year-round training and competition schedules for the Academy’s 27 intercollegiate sports, 14 intramural sports and numerous physical education classes for more than 4,400 cadets. Cadet athletic development and performance will be enhanced through reduced weather delays, increased practice time and improved replication of game conditions that the facility provides.

The training facility will foster short- and long-term success in all cadets’ lives, said football head coach Troy Calhoun, a 1989 graduate.

“Discipline, fortitude and toughness are key character traits that Air Force Academy graduates will draw upon while serving as leaders for our country on active duty and beyond,” Coach Calhoun said. “The construction of the indoor facility will continue to provide optimal support and training grounds for the young men and women at the world’s finest leadership institution. This tremendous commitment and investment will be returned many times over by the quality of officers who, in the years to come, will lead our Air Force.”

Presently, the Academy is the only service academy, and one of only three institutions in the Mountain West Conference, without a dedicated indoor training facility.

“We are thrilled to receive such an unprecedented gift and appreciate Bart and Lynn Holaday’s generous and thoughtful support of our Academy,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould. “This training facility will be among the most important donor projects in the Academy’s history. It will be a part of our cadets’ daily lives. Every time they see this landmark, they will know that it was built specifically for them by the dedicated graduates and friends of the Air Force Academy.”

Mr. Holaday shared his motivation behind offering the gift.

“My experiences at the Academy provided the foundation that I built my life upon: integrity, trust, hard work, persistence and loyalty,” he said. “The Academy emphasized the profound importance of sacrifice and service, inspiring me to support others in reaching their full potential. Lynn and I hope that this new facility will, in turn, inspire others to give back to the institution that gave so much to the two of us.”

Mr. Holaday and his wife, the former Lynn Buckingham Villella, met at a student conference at the Academy in 1964. A 1965 graduate of the Academy, Mr. Holaday majored in economics. He set records in varsity football, served as Cadet Wing commander and class president, chaired the Cadet Forum and was a Rhodes Scholar. He holds a master’s degree from Exeter College, Oxford, in philosophy, politics and economics and a J.D. from Georgetown.

Mr. Holaday has served in public and private capacities in the Air Force, federal government, the energy industry and banking and finance. In 1997, he founded his own philanthropic non-profit organization, the Dakota Foundation. Mrs. Holaday, an award-winning writer, editor and community leader, serves as the Foundation’s executive director.

Mr. Holaday currently serves as vice president of the Falcon Foundation after serving as trustee for the last 25 years. He is also a founding director and chairman of the USAFA Endowment, a charitable foundation dedicated to raising private funds in support of the Air Force Academy, and is a Sabre Society member.

He has also offered extensive financial support to the Academy’s athletic, academic, and character and leadership development programs, including the Senior Scholar-in-Residence program. He and his wife endowed a $1-million scholarship in his mother’s honor eight years ago. The scholarship provides two years of graduate study for a top-ranking cadet at England’s Oxford University.

In 2009, Mr. Holaday was the first graduate to receive the Distinguished Service Award, an accolade reserved for individuals and organizations that impact the morale and well-being of the Academy through their personal generosity and dedication.

“This indoor training facility is a landmark that heralds a new era of private philanthropy at the Academy, initiated by two exemplary individuals who, through their outstanding personal and professional conduct, truly embody Air Force Academy values,” said Dr. Erv Rokke, president of the USAFA Endowment.

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