BOWLING GREEN - Scott Hamilton has donated the largest gift yet to support the Bowling Green State University Ice Arena, where he learned to skate.
Hamilton, in partnership with the Pioneer Fund, is giving $500,000 to the university's "Bring Back the Glory!" campaign to be used for scholarships for the hockey program.
The gift will endow the Scott Hamilton Hockey Scholarship.
"The Ice Arena has given me many of the most incredible moments of my life," Hamilton said in a statement. "I am excited to help bring the facility back to those glory days where other young people from BG can build their own memories and dreams. I have no idea who, what, or where I would be without the BGSU Ice Arena."
Hamilton is perhaps the most recognized figure skating star worldwide. He received an Olympic gold medal 25 years ago and is a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. He claimed 70 titles, awards and honors for his performance on ice skates, including an Emmy Award nomination.
The Bowling Green native is honorary chairman of the "Bring Back the Glory!" campaign to raise $5 million to endow scholarships for the program and enhance the Ice Arena.
"Scott Hamilton's name is synonymous with the BGSU Ice Arena," university President Carol Cartwright said in a statement. "Scott has been tremendously generous to the university over the years. He represents the heart and soul of the arena and the skating community.
"We're delighted that Scott and his supporters have generously stepped forward to help BGSU once again."
Hamilton, a survivor of cancer and a brain tumor, is a motivational speaker, author, sports commentator, and philanthropist. His most recent published work, The Great Eight, is an inspirational book released last January. He also appeared on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice earlier this year.
Garry Galley and Mike Pikul, members of BGSU's 1984 National Championship team, are co-chairmen of the campaign.
The renovation project received a donation of $250,000 last month from BG's first hockey coach, Jack Vivian, and his wife, Elaine. The offering had represented the largest donation distributed by any individuals on behalf of renovation plans for the ice arena.
Besides coaching the Falcons, Vivian, the CEO of JRV Consulting, a firm that specializes in ice arena construction and management, was involved in the establishment of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and served as the league's first commissioner.
Also, $4 million appropriated by the state and the university will help pay for the project.
The university announced during the summer a commitment of $2.5 million of capital improvement funds for the ice arena makeover. Additionally, state Rep. Randy Gardner and state Sen. Mark Wagoner obtained $1.5 million in funding from the state of Ohio.