Groundbreaking held for BGSU’s Stroh Center

Kerm Stroh looked right at home turning some dirt with a backhoe Thursday afternoon.
Stroh capped the groundbreaking ceremony for the new arena and convocation center at Bowling Green State
University, which will bear his name, running the backhoe in Lot 6, just off East Wooster Street on the
BGSU campus.
The facility will sit across the street from Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s.
“I’ve done a lot of things in my life and one of them was, I was in the propane business for about 50
years and we ran a lot of (gas) lines. I used to do that when we only had a few employees,” Stroh said.
“I wasn’t that good, but it did feel pretty good today.”
Stroh, his late wife Mary Lu and other members of his family, gave the lead gift of almost $8 million to
get the fundraising campaign started. The facility, which will house BG’s men’s and women’s basketball
teams and the volleyball team, is set to open in 2011.
“Anderson Arena was a great place, but it was out-dated,” Stroh said. “It’s (the Stroh Center) is set at
the right location.
A crowd of approximately 450 people attended the groundbreaking.
“It’s overwhelming to come in and see a crowd like this. It’s great to see the interest and enthusiasm of
our friends and our alumni at this university,” Stroh said. “This day is not about me and my family, but
about (the students). It’s giving in some way that someone else can be better.”
“It’s the new gem of the university,” said Bob Sebo, the president of the BGSU Board of Trustees. Sebo
gave the lead donation for the Sebo Center, a facility which houses the offices of the football staff as
well as the strength and conditioning and training facilities for all BG athletes, at the North end of
Perry Stadium.
“We are both fortunate to have our own names on a building at Bowling Green,” Sebo added.
With the gift from the Stroh family, approximately $13.5 million has been raised for the Stroh Center.
The total funding for the project is S36 million.
“We are extremely grateful of the generosity of Kerm Stroh and his family,” said BG president Dr. Carol
Cartwright pointed out that approximately one-half of the 200-250 scheduled dates at the Stroh Center
would be university related. The other half, including trade shows and concerts, would generate
additional revenue.
The donations of Bill Frack, Allen and Carol Schmidthorst, Larry Miles, Rick Hargrave and Mike Marsh and
Terri Marsh were also acknowledged.
“This is a special day for Bowling Green State University. It is something that was more than 20 years in
the making,” said Greg Christopher, BG’s athletics director. “It’s going to be more than just an arena,
it’s the front porch of Bowling Green State University.
“It’s going to be a very special building.”
Christopher said approximately 500,000 people a year will go through the Stroh Center.
Joe Jakubowski, from Rossford, a member of the men’s basketball team at Bowling Green, spoke for the
“This isn’t a what if, now it becomes reality,” Jakubowski said.
Photo caption: Kerm Stroh walks through a group of students at the beginning of the groundbreaking
ceremony for the new Stroh Center on the BGSU Campus. (Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)