Aug. 3, 2010
ATLANTA – Georgia State University hasn't played a football game yet, but the program has scored a key victory as alumnus and long-time benefactor Parker H. "Pete" Petit has made a $1.5 million commitment toward the GSU Football Practice Complex, representing the largest gift ever made to GSU athletics.
Head coach Bill Curry and the Panthers are preparing for their inaugural season, which kicks off Sept. 2 at the Georgia Dome. Team members begin preseason drills Wednesday.
Petit, who received his MBA from Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson College of Business, is chairman and chief executive officer of MiMedx Group, Inc., an integrated developer, manufacturer and marketer of biomaterial-based products. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Matria Healthcare and other Healthdyne-related companies.
"I believe that having football at Georgia State University will provide numerous benefits for the students and the University," said Petit. "Under Coach Bill Curry, Panther football will add a new dimension to the excitement and enthusiasm that students will feel about their University experience.
"Coach Curry's character and leadership align exactly with that of President Mark Becker and the existing administration at GSU. This football program will create a more complete college experience at GSU, and it will certainly act as a catalyst for continuing the growth of the University."
Becker said, "'Pete' has been a loyal friend of Georgia State University for many years. He is a champion of higher education as evidenced by his gift to our Science Center, and we are deeply grateful for this cornerstone gift supporting GSU football."
"It is only fitting that 'Pete' is making this historic gift as we literally kick off our football program," said GSU Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick. "What an exciting week this is, with our inaugural team reporting to campus and beginning practice as we build toward our historic opening game on Sept. 2."
Located adjacent to campus at 188 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the GSU Football Practice Complex features a 100-yard synthetic turf field and a 60-yard natural turf field with lights. The synthethic field was completed in March and utilized by the Panthers during spring practice, and the natural turf field is now also available for practice.
An existing structure on the property is being renovated and expanded to create a headquarters for Panther football, including a locker room for the team, as well as a state-of-the art weight room, expansive meeting space, an equipment room and an athletic training room.
The meeting rooms will be utilized by the Panthers this season, with the remaining phases to be completed as funding permits.
"The educational aspect of this project has been substantial, and one of the main instructors has been 'Pete' Petit," said Curry. "His unique involvement will enable us to provide our student-athletes with the facilities they need to be successful.
"'Pete' has been an inspiration to me for many years, and I am delighted to have him on our team."
The GSU Football Practice Complex will also be utilized by the University's new marching band, which debuts this fall.