Granderson, alma mater trade honors

Granderson awards luncheon

Curtis Granderson, center, with (L-R) Flames baseball coach Mike Dee, Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Vice Chancellor Mark Donovan. Photo: Epic Marketing.

Curtis Granderson, UIC graduate and New York Yankees outfielder, traded honors with campus visitors at a recent All Star Awards luncheon hosted by his Grand Kids Foundation.

Granderson presented a Community Service Award to his alma mater, accepted by Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Vice Chancellor Mark Donovan and Flames baseball coach Mike Dee.

UIC was honored for its commitment to the Curtis Granderson Stadium Project, a youth initiative anchored around a new $7 million baseball facility.

In return, he became possibly the only Major League Baseball player to have a peregrine falcon named for him. One of the fledgings hatched by Nitz, UIC’s new falcon mother, was officially named “Granderson.”

Granderson announced his pledge for the stadium in February. The University Board of Trustees approved plans for the new facility May 29 and construction is scheduled to begin this fall, with completion in 2014.

Two Major League Baseball initiatives, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and Urban Youth Academy, will be partners for the project, which will include youth baseball and educational programs.

“He carries an enormous level of credibility in the community because of his reputation and so we’ve built the project on that,” said Dee of his former player at the July 15 luncheon.

“We’re going to have the opportunity to reach roughly 13,000 children in the Chicago community and bring them on a college campus.”

The new stadium will have about 1,200 chair-back seats and two grassy berms for spectator seating.

“There are a lot of people in the community that are in the same situation I was in 15 to 20 years ago,” Granderson said.

“Now, I am in a position where I have the ability to help kids pursue whatever dreams they have, whether they are educational, athletic or just life in general. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to team up with UIC, which has helped me get to where I am today.”

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