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Football home opener dubbed "Knowlton Kickoff Classic"

August  21, 2013

Not only will Augustana’s season-opening football game with the College of Mount Saint Joseph be the inaugural contest in the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex; the game will also bear the moniker of the chief benefactor. When the Vikings and the Lions tee it up for a 6:15 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 7, they will be playing in the first annual Austin E. Knowlton Kickoff Classic.

The opening of the new facility will match a pair of colleges who have been recipients of funds from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation based in Cincinnati. Both teams will be coming into the game off 5-5 campaigns in 2012.

Several features will make the first Knowlton Kickoff Classic a special event. In addition to it being the first event in the Knowlton Complex, there will also be pre-game music provided by the Sin City Orchestra and short dedication ceremony. Donors can look for their paver bricks bearing their names. Guests will receive commemorative programs, and the first 500 fans will receive free T-shirts.

The Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex is named in honor of the late Ohio businessman and philanthropist Austin E. Knowlton, who founded the Knowlton Foundation and funded it throughout his lifetime and through a provision in his will.

“The Knowlton Kickoff Classic is a tremendous opportunity to honor the legacy and generosity of Austin E. Knowlton,” said President of the College Steve Bahls. “He believed in the future of young people and showed that throughout his life. To have the inaugural event in the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex named in his honor is one small way that we can say thanks to his remarkable philanthropy.”

President Bahls noted the facility—which includes the Charles D. Lindberg Stadium, the Ken Anderson Academic All-America Club and a patio—will stand out as unique among Division III stadium complexes. The playing surface was redone during the summer of 2012, and the Paul V. Olsen Track was installed in 2008.

This is not the first time that Augustana has benefitted from the Knowlton’s generosity. Previous gifts include Knowlton’s Ohio and Colorado homes, which were sold to fund the Austin E. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship and the Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program, both established in 2004. Those previous gifts came from Knowlton personally, while this one will come from the Knowlton Foundation.

Bahls noted, “Although a few non-public areas may not be completed, the complex will be far enough along to host the game and a celebration of this new campus venue, the Knowlton Foundation’s generosity and the important legacy of Mr. Knowlton.”

Knowlton Foundation Trustee Eric Lindberg said, “Austin E. Knowlton had a vision of being able to better students’ lives through philanthropy, and he was also an avid sportsman and football fan. Establishing the annual Knowlton Kickoff Classic is a great way to honor and preserve his legacy in a fun way that he would personally have loved.”

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833