AN EXEMPLARY LIFE - Part II
Mr. Hale also worked with Mason Gross, President of Rutgers in the 1950's to have the Football Hall of Fame constructed on the Rutgers campus. Mr. Hale, President Mason and others spent many evenings at fundraisers and meetings attempting to convince members of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame that Rutgers, the site of the first intercollegiate football game and a school steeped in tradition was the logical place to put the Hall of Fame. Mr. Hale even arranged as far to survey land on what is now the Busch campus, but ultimately the Foundation rejected Rutgers offer.
Still Mr. Hale's commitment to Rutgers never wavered. As a graduating member of the Class of 1944, Mr. Hale decided along with other graduates of the class of 1944 to develop the concept of "Athletes Glen." Athletes Glen was envisioned by Mr. Hale as a way of making a significant contribution to the athletic program as opposed to the usual symbolic plaques that other classes contributed. In addition to Athletes Glen, the Class of 1944 established academic scholarships at Rutgers of well over a half a million dollars. Most importantly, Mr. Hale envisioned the efforts of the Class of 1944 as a model for other classes to use in giving back to Rutgers University. Mr. Hale also persuaded Cap and Skull alumni to act as catalysts in organizing other classes to emulate the efforts of the Class of 1944 and he encouraged the leadership of Cap and Skull to persuade prominent members of former classes to use their influence in securing state and federal funding for University endeavors.
As the years passed, Mr. Hale continued to support Rutgers athletics. He worked tirelessly in attempting to encourage Rutgers alumni to contribute to their alma mater and helped support Rutgers transition to the Division I level. In 1987, with the support of President Bloustein, Dick Anderson and others, Rutgers planned on naming the new weight and conditioning building, the Richard M. Hale Center in recognition of the contributions Mr. Hale made to Rutgers athletics. With his customary humility, Mr. Hale balked at having the building named after him. Mr. Hale felt if anything, the building should be named after his father who was largely responsible for securing the funds for building the first Rutgers Stadium. A compromise was eventually reached to name the building simply, the Hale Center. The Hale Center today is one of the premier college training facilities in the country.
In addition, to Mr. Hale's many contributions, he was very active in the Scarlet R Club, the fundraising organization for Rutgers athletics and was a recipient of the Loyal Sons and Daughters of Rutgers award. In addition Mr. Hale was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1997 and received the George H. Cook Award. In speaking to Brian Crockett, Associate Athletic Director/Executive Director of the Scarlet R Club, he echoed the sentiments of many in the Rutgers community; "Mr. Hale was very active in Scarlet R and will be sorely missed by the Rutgers athletic community and the Scarlet R Club."
Despite the numerous contributions that Mr. Hale made to Rutgers athletics, first and foremost, he was a fan. Mr. Hale and his wife Ruth attended Rutgers football games tailgating at their VIP spot outside the Hale Center. During the games each Saturday afternoon, the Hales took their customary seats at the 50-yard line and rooted along with the other faithful fans for their Scarlet Knights, often declining invitations to sit in the Presidential suite in the Hale Center. Mr. Hale epitomized the spirit of Rutgers, both as a student and alumni and his contribution to Rutgers athletics spanned throughout his life. He serves as a shining example of what Rutgers fans and alumni can aspire to.
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