Frequently Asked Questions
Northern Illinois Kicks Off Brick Campaign
for Chessick Practice Center
Northern Illinois Kicks Off Brick Campaign for Chessick Practice Center
Fans Can Become a Permanent Part of NIU Athletics
Aug. 31, 2012
Complete Legacy Brick Campaign information
DeKALB, Ill. - With work on Northern Illinois' newest athletic facility, the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, set to get underway this fall, Northern Illinois fans can now make their marks on Huskie history - literally - by purchasing a lifetime legacy brick in the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Huskie Pride Plaza.
With each brick purchase, proceeds from the NIU Legacy Brick Campaign will directly support the construction of the Chessick Practice Center. Fan bricks will be prominently featured at the entryway of both the Yordon and Chessick Centers around a beautiful statue of three heroic scale Huskies. Thousands of guests, not to mention generations of future Huskie students and student-athletes, will pass by the legacy bricks as they become a permanent part of the "gateway" to the home of Northern Illinois Athletics.
In a little less than a year since the historic announcement of a $3 million leadership gift from Kenneth and Ellen Chessick, Huskie Athletics and the NIU Foundation have amassed gifts and commitments totaling over $9.1 million. The NIU Huskies Legacy Brick Campaign is positioned to allow all Huskie fans the opportunity to support the new facility and help get NIU across the goal line of the $9.5 million campaign goal.
"We have had tremendous leadership gift support from several donors for the Chessick Practice Center," said Jeff Compher, NIU Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics. "Throughout the campaign many of our loyal fans and season tickets holders have asked how they can get involved and help with the project. We believe the Legacy Brick Campaign provides an attractive way for all of our fans to help finish off the campaign...one brick at a time."
Fans can choose to purchase legacy bricks for themselves, family members, friends, businesses or in memory of someone special to them with a unique message engraved on each brick. Each brick option comes with a complimentary keepsake replica and an individually numbered "Certificate of Ownership". Replicas are made of the same material as the installed brick, and are inscribed with the same personal message as the brick at the Huskie Pride Plaza. A small plaque commemorating the contribution to the NIU Huskies Legacy Brick Campaign will also be included. Fans buying the brick for someone else may purchase gift certificates for bricks, allowing recipients to create their own personal message on their legacy brick.
Sizes and prices for the NIU Legacy Bricks are:
4"x 8" brick with replica includes 1-3 lines of text -- $200* (additional replicas $55)
8"x 8" brick with replica includes 1-6 lines of text -- $400* (additional replicas $80)
8"x 8" Huskie Logo brick with replica includes 1-4 lines of text -- $500*(additional replicas $95)
*Price includes shipping replicas to a home or office within the contiguous U.S., excluding HI and AK
To place an order, go to www.NIUHuskies.com/fanbricks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call 855-NIU-FANS (855-648-3267) between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday. Fans attending the Soldier Field Showdown III game between Northern Illinois and Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 1 in Chicago, can visit the NIU Legacy Brick information table in the NIU Alumni Association Tailgate Party area prior to the game. Personnel will be on hand to answer questions about the Legacy Bricks and laptop computers will provide a live hook-up to the online order page.
Go to the NIU Huskies Legacy Brick Campaign website www.imaginemyniubrick.com to see the virtual Chessick Practice Center brick where fans can enter their personal message to see how it will appear on the brick. Examples of what other fans have put on bricks, and a "Frequently Asked Questions" page provide specific information on the campaign.
Installation of the legacy bricks is scheduled prior to Fall 2013. Once the legacy bricks are installed, a locator map will allow fans to find their specific Huskie bricks in the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Huskie Pride Plaza.
Huskies Break Ground on Chessick Practice Center
Indoor Practice Facility Projected to Open in Fall 2013
April 21, 2012
DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University administrators, coaches, student-athletes and fans honored leadership donors to the Chessick Practice Center (CPC) Saturday during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the facility. The groundbreaking was held at the site of the multi-sport indoor practice facility, which will be built to the north of the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center adjacent to Huskie Stadium and in close proximity to the NIU Tennis Courts, baseball's Ralph McKinzie Field and Mary M. Bell Softball Field.
NIU President Dr. John Peters, Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, NIU Head Football Coach Dave Doeren and Vice-President for University Advancement Michael Malone spoke at Saturday's groundbreaking ceremony, which took place prior to the Huskie football team's annual Spring Game.
"What a great day for Huskie Athletics and for all NIU student-athletes, present and future," Peters said. "I'm proud of NIU and I'm proud of our alumni, our faculty and this team of professionals who helped make this dream a reality. Most of all, I'm proud of our students. This project has always been about students, giving them every opportunity to compete and to win at the highest level of intercollegiate sports and Division I while we're taking care of their physical and academic well-being and so today, this is another Huskie History Moment."
Peters, Compher, Doeren, representatives from the Board of Trustees and leadership donors Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick and Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon placed a ceremonial shovel in the ground in front of the backdrop of a bulldozer and renderings of the CPC. Northern Illinois has received cash and commitments of $8.7 million of the $9.5 million needed to build the Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center. The Chessicks announced the naming gift of $3 milliion toward the project in September 2011 and Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon and Dennis and Stacey Barsema stepped up with gifts of $1 million or more. Those gifts have made the Chessick Center the first privately funded university project to secure three commitments of $1 million or more.
During the ceremony, Peters and Compher provided the most specific information to date regarding the construction schedule for the CPC, which will be used by all Huskie teams. Over the past several months, the NIU Foundation and the Office of Capital Budget and Planning has worked with CPC lead architects HKM and contractor Turner Construction on design development as well as construction documents necessary before the project can begin.
Actual construction is slated to begin this summer, and while progress throughout the construction process will determine the official opening date, NIU expects to be able to practice in the Chessick Practice Center beginning in Fall 2013. Compher said the Chessick Center will only add to the success of NIU Athletics; the Huskies claimed three Mid-American Conference Championships in 2011-12.
"We will make the Chessick Center one of the finest facilities of its kind in the country," Compher said. "The Chessick Center will not only maintain our success it will put us in high gear and help accelerate the momentum we have gained. The CPC clearly demonstrates our continued commitment to our student-athletes and their success. This facility will have a huge impact on every student-athlete and every team. To be able to practice and prepare on a year-round basis is essential for any team's continued development."
With the fantastic response during the leadership and major gift phases of the CPC fundraising campaign, NIU is moving into the special giving phase which targets multi-year pledge commitments of $2,500 and greater. Over the summer, the Huskies will launch a brick and paver campaign for gifts starting at the $200 level. The brick and paver campaign will provide an opportunity for fans, donors and members of the general public to have a personally engraved brick in the Yordon Pride Plaza at the east entrance of the facility.
Doeren thanked the donors and talked about the impact that the facility will have on Huskie student-athletes and coaches.
"On behalf of the 17 sports and all the head coaches, I wanted to say thank you to everyone on stage, everybody that has given and everybody we're going to ask to give," Doeren said. [Being out here] puts everything in perspective when you see how big this facility is going to be. Everyone thinks we just need it to practice in and while that's true, it's way more than that. If you want to be good every year, you have to be able to develop your players the way you want every day. I can't wait. Next August is the date and I'm marking it off on my calendar. I can't tell you how excited we are to have that facility on board and to break ground."
Saturday's event attracted several hundred people to the site of the future Chessick Practice Center. A football field was lined out in the area. In addition to hearing from Peters, Compher, the leadership donors stuck shovels into the ground and posed for pictures. They received a warm round of applause from the crowd, which included the Huskie football team and student-athletes from nearly every sport.
Kenneth And Ellen Chessick Practice Center
To Be Built At
Leadership Gifts Spur Formal Campaign Announcement
Oct. 15, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. – Less than one month after the announcement that Northern Illinois University benefactors Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick will donate $3 million to the University to name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, the new indoor training facility for Huskie Athletics, NIU President Dr. John Peters and Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced the project's official launch and campaign details Saturday prior to Northern Illinois' 105th Homecoming football game.
Peters, Compher, NIU Vice-President for University Advancement Mike Malone and Dr. and Mrs. Chessick were joined by several of the 17 leadership donors for Saturday's official campaign announcement. Leadership donors have each committed at least $100,000 to the Chessick Practice Center and the total from the leadership group, which includes the Chessicks, stands at $7.6 million. The current projected cost of the building, which will be located on the north side of the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center, is $9.5 million.
The 83,500 square foot facility will house a full-size, 120-yard artificial surface football practice field with buffer space surrounding the field on all sides. It will stand 65-feet tall in the center and 45-feet at the sidelines. Preliminary plans feature a four-lane track, batting cages and a retractable center net, allowing multi-sport use throughout the winter months. Other planned features include a long jump pit, storage cages, field goal nets and a play-clock system.
Peters said he is excited to formally launch the fundraising campaign for a project that has been discussed for many years.
"This practice center has been planned as part of a north end zone sports complex for almost 10 years," Peters said. "I could feel the momentum building as we stood in the snow of Boise last year after winning the Humanitarian Bowl. Since Ken and Ellen Chessick stepped forward with the naming gift, the pieces have started to fall into place. Our leadership donors have given us a great start to the campaign, and I am excited to see the project move forward."
The leadership donor group includes familiar names Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon, who will provide $1.15 million to name the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Huskie Pride Plaza, the main entrance to the Chessick Practice Center on the east side of the building. Dennis and Stacey Barsema's $1 million gift will name the "Hall of Champions" area connecting the Yordon and Chessick centers.
The list of leadership donors recognized Saturday (does not include anonymous donors):
Kenneth and Ellen Chessick
Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon
Dennis and Stacey Barsema
Jerry and Jinny Andres
Gary and Gloria Baumgartner
Bill and Priscilla Boston and The Kirch Foundation
Jeff and Doreen Eckmann
Stephen W. Kalber
The National Bank and Trust Company
David and Linda Nelson
David and Lyn Rasmussen
Doug and Lynn Roberts
Jerry and Laurie Steinborn
Chet and Teresa Young
Midwest Orthopaedic Institute, Official Team Physicians of the NIU Huskies
As the Chessick Practice Center project enters the next phase in its development, Compher thanked the leadership donors on behalf of Northern Illinois student-athletes and coaches.
"There is no doubt the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center will become another cornerstone facility for Huskie Athletics," Compher said. "Like the Yordon Center, it will benefit every student-athlete in each of our 17 sports programs as they strive to bring championships to Northern Illinois University.
"The response from the leadership donors who have committed to the building so far has been amazing and we cannot thank them enough. There is still a lot of work to be done, and there will be an opportunity for donors and fans at all levels to join us to make the Chessick Practice Center a reality. I cannot overstate the excitement that has rippled throughout our department over the last several weeks as we have prepared for today's announcement."
Malone noted that the Chessick Practice Center will be the fourth privately-funded building to be constructed at NIU in the last decade, and is the first building campaign that has attracted three gifts of $1 million or more.
"The tremendous support this project has already received speaks to the breadth and depth of the commitment of our alumni and friends to NIU and their belief in a bright future for the Huskies and the University," Malone said. "In football terms, these leadership donors have gotten the ball to the 20-yard line; we are in the red zone. From this point, it will take all of our fans, former student-athletes, and alumni to drive in for the final score."
With 80 percent of the projected cost of the 82,000-plus square foot facility already secured thanks to the generosity of the leadership donors, Compher said the fundraising campaign next will enter the "major gift" phase, targeting donors at the $25,000 and above level. When that phase is near completion later this year, Northern Illinois will open a "Brick and Paver" walkway effort which will invite fans and supporters at several levels to contribute to making the Chessick Practice Center a reality.
Kenneth and Ellen Chessick, whose long legacy of philanthropy toward Northern Illinois University was extended to intercollegiate athletics with the Sept. 17 announcement of their $3 million naming gift for the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, were thrilled that their initial commitment has spurred so many to come forward in support of the building.
"We are so happy that these generous donors have stepped up so quickly and share our passion for this project," the Chessicks said. "We firmly believe that education is the gateway to a full and satisfying life and that a successful collegiate athletic program does more to enrich the experience of the student than any other single factor. We want to give NIU's dedicated student-athletes every tool to become the best they can be. We are confident that their future performances will bring Northern Illinois students, alumni and faculty, as well as the community, together in a way that will benefit many generations of Huskies moving forward."
As with the three previous privately-financed building at NIU (Barsema Hall, Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center, and the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center) the NIU Foundation will serve as the developer of the project, working closely with the university's Division of Finance and Facilities.
The projected timeline for the fundraising campaign, a detailed construction plan and complete architectural drawings for the Chessick Practice Center are under development. Fans can get the latest updates on the project, see renderings of the inside and outside of the CPC, watch videos, read quotes and more online at www.niuchessickpracticecenter.com. In addition, you can like the project on Facebook at facebook.com/ChessickCenter and follow updates on Twitter @ChessickCenter.
Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Make $3 Million Gift to
Northern Illinois University Athletics
Sept. 17, 2011
CHICAGO - Northern Illinois University supporters Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick announced that they are continuing their long legacy of support for the university by donating $3 million to Huskie Athletics to name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility. The gift is the largest ever made to Northern Illinois Athletics and the second-largest given to the university all-time.
The Chessicks, accompanied by Northern Illinois University President Dr. John Peters, Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher and Michael Malone, Vice-President for University Advancement, made the announcement during the Northern Illinois-Wisconsin football game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday.
The Chessicks said their strong belief in the value that a successful athletic program brings to the entire university educational experience led them to the decision to provide the generous gift for the training facility.
"We are dedicated to helping to provide the best possible college education experience for our NIU students, and our student- athletes are instrumental to that positive experience," the Chessicks said. "Providing this training facility for our dedicated student-athletes to continue our winning tradition at NIU is a privilege for us. NIU athletic prowess is an important element of university life which unites the entire campus, students, faculty, administration, alums, and fans and builds passion, loyalty, and engagement. With this gift, we hope to enhance the experience for all NIU students, and especially our dedicated student-athletes."
Peters noted the impact the gift and the building will have on Northern Illinois Athletics' success going forward.
"The tremendous support that Kenneth and Ellen Chessick have shown toward Northern Illinois University and its students is extraordinary," Peters said. "The Chessick's most recent gift to the university will not only benefit our student-athletes and coaches, but I believe that it is further evidence of the ascent of the Huskie athletic program.
"We aspire to do great things at NIU, both in the classroom and in the area of athletic competition. The indoor practice facility will elevate our academic and athletic training complex to among the best in the Mid-American Conference - if not the nation. We are truly grateful to both Ken and Ellen Chessick for their commitment to NIU to help provide the best possible resources for student success both on and off the field."
Dr. Kenneth Chessick, a surgeon and attorney who graduated from the Northern Illinois College of Law in 1984 and from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1968, and his wife, Ellen, have devoted themselves to student academic success for many years.
The Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Training Skills Center was established at the NIU College of Law in 2004 and in 2007, Dr. Chessick created a series of scholarships named in honor of his clients. There are currently five endowed scholarships in the Kenneth C. Chessick Civil Justice Endowed Scholarship Program which are presented annually to students in the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Last year, the Chessicks extended their generosity to the College of Business by creating the Restaurant.com Professorship of Interactive Marketing, funded through Dr. Chessick's corporation.
Dr. Chessick was named the NIU Alumnus of the Year in 2001. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the NIU Foundation, and serves on the Board of Visitors of the NIU College of Law. His firm, The Law Offices of Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D., in Schaumburg, Ill., has achieved record verdicts at trial and settlements in excess of $100 million, while working primarily in the area of medical and hospital negligence and personal injury.
Ellen Chessick earned her bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has an MBA in finance from DePaul University. A financial manager whose volunteer service for Northern Illinois includes co-chairing the NIU Foundation's Red & Black Gala, Mrs. Chessick, along with her husband, is a native of Chicago and an ardent Huskie fan.
By providing the naming gift for Northern Illinois Athletics' next major capital project, the Chessicks will make an impact on all NIU student-athletes in support of the Huskie athletic department's mission, said Compher.
"Ken and Ellen are great people and wonderful supporters of Huskie student-athletes, with an emphasis on the `student' aspect of that equation," Compher said. "They have a strong appreciation for NIU Athletics' mission of Developing Champions, in the Classroom, in Competition and in Life. With this gift, Northern Illinois has taken a huge step toward making this building, which will benefit each of our 17 sports programs, a reality. Our coaches, staff and especially our student-athletes are immensely grateful to the Chessicks for their commitment to this project and to the Huskies."
Mallory Simpson, President and CEO of the NIU Foundation, noted the leadership aspect of the Chessicks' gift.
"Ken and Ellen Chessick have made previous major gifts to the Colleges of Law and Business and play important volunteer roles with the NIU Foundation and College of Law," Simpson said. "That they have chosen to step up as the leading donors for this important university project is further evidence of their vision, passion and pride, as well as their endless dedication to the success of NIU students. Their monumental gift will inspire many others to follow. On behalf of the NIU Foundation Board of Directors, I extend our heartfelt thanks."
Preliminary plans for the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility call for an 80,000-plus square foot building to be constructed on the north side of the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center. The surface will consist of an artificial turf field and four-lane sprint track, while batting cages and a retractable center net will allow multi-sport use. The climate-controlled venue will provide a much-needed area for Huskie student-athletes in all sports to practice and train during the winter months and throughout the year.
Following Saturday's announcement of the Chessicks' leadership gift to build and name the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Facility, a full fundraising campaign will be launched in the near future.