CSUB dedicates Hardt Field, opens inaugural baseball seasonFebruary 23, 2009
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Earlier today, before a cheering crowd of more than 500 fans, California State University, Bakersfield officially dedicated its baseball playing and training facility and opened its inaugural baseball season.
The baseball facility was officially named Hardt Field, honoring local residents Tom and Barbara Hardt who donated $1 million last summer to make the project a reality. The Hardts were presented with a CSUB baseball jersey by head coach Bill Kernen and a resolution from the CSU Board of Trustees approving the naming. Mayor Harvey Hall proclaimed the day "Hardt Field Day" for the City of Bakersfield, and joined the Hardts and university officials for a ceremonious ribbon cutting.
President Horace Mitchell expressed his gratitude to the Hardts for investing in CSUB's future and noted the importance of the day. "With the first pitch today, our university enters another phase of expansion and excellence. The addition of the baseball facility and the baseball program is an asset not only to the athletics program, but also to our entire community. This opening day is the realization of many years of hard work that will advance the lives of our student-athletes. This is more than a field of dreams, it is a field of futures," Mitchell said.
A CSUB alumni and Bakersfield homebuilder for more than 40 years, Mr. Hardt is an adamant believer in the importance of athletics as a training ground for future leaders. He credits his education at CSUB for being the cornerstone of his professional success and sees athletics as a vital part of the student learning environment.
"I played baseball in high school and know that the skills and virtues I learned on the field have stayed with me throughout my life," Hardt said. "When I pursued my higher education at CSUB, the discipline, competitiveness and teamwork I learned as an athlete helped me to be a better student. Barbara and I believe the baseball facility and program will have a positive impact on the experience of student-athletes now and for the future."
Phase I construction of Hardt Field began in September 2008 with Mr. Hardt donating his time and talents as the project's general contractor. He was also instrumental in securing many in-kind gifts that were essential to complete the field's construction.
The dedication ceremony ended with Mr. Hardt, Mitchell and Rudy Carvajal, director of athletics, throwing out the first pitch. The umpire then called for the teams to, "Play Ball!" and CSUB's baseball team took to the field against St. Louis University. Baseball is CSUB's 19th sport and part of the university's transition to NCAA Division I athletics.
"Our team understands how incredibly special it is to be part of such a major 'first' for the university," Kernen added. "No other players or coaches can say they were part of the day baseball began at CSUB. It's very exciting and we look forward to making our community proud."