When Dave Dickson decided to give $1 million to his alma mater St. Mary’s University, it was a continuation of a story that started more than 50 years ago.

Having grown up on Marquette Drive just a block north of St. Mary’s, Dickson always held the University close to his heart. Even after getting thrown out of the St. Mary’s swimming pool as a kid.

“Back in the ’50s, the University’s swimming pool was closed in the evening because that’s when the Brothers would use it,” Dickson recalled with a chuckle. “I remember as a kid sneaking into the pool. But every time we would get busted, the Brothers were never rude or said we couldn’t come back.”

That memory has stayed with Dickson through the years and is just one more reason he calls St. Mary’s “a special place.”

Dickson, a former member of the University’s Board of Trustees, donated $1 million toward the new outdoor sports complex project, a venture he helped head from the start as the Campaign Co-chair.

“Everyone should have a passion for something, and if they don’t, they need to find one,” said Dickson, who graduated from St. Mary’s in 1968. “My passion is St. Mary’s.”

In honor of the gift, the Rattlers’ new baseball complex, which is set to open in the 2014 season, will be named David C. Dickson Stadium.

St. Mary’s University President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., called the gift an important step in continuing mission of St. Mary’s to develop the whole person.

“At St. Mary’s, excellence in education is more than quality teaching, learning and scholarship – it is forming the whole person which also includes disciplined teamwork and the physical development of individuals that are a part of both athletics and recreational activities,” Cotrell said. “I personally thank Dave for his long-time commitment to St. Mary’s and his leadership in the development of the new outdoor sports complex, both through his service as co-chair and this generous gift.”

Dickson said part of the motivation behind his gift was to raise St. Mary’s profile, including the goal of someday bringing an NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship to St. Mary’s. But Dickson also said this was about more than just baseball.

“It’s for intramurals; it’s for the students; it’s for the West Side of San Antonio and for the city,” he said. “Hopefully, it raises the profile of the whole University. That’s what we’re trying to do; just raise the whole profile.”

Construction on the new outdoor sports complex, including David C. Dickson Stadium, is set to begin in the coming months. And Dickson, for one, cannot wait to see how it turns out.

“Having lived next door to the University since 1950, I’ve been affiliated with St. Mary’s for 60-something years,” he said. “It’s just a special place. The brothers are special; their mission in life is special. I’m just doing what I can to give back. Everybody ought to give back.”

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