CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 8, 2016 – Southeast Missouri State University today announced receipt of a major gift from Dr. John and Judy Holcomb of Cape Girardeau in support of the Redhawks Athletics programs and Southeast’s student athletes.
To honor the long-time service and philanthropy of the Holcombs, the University has named the facility the Holcomb Success Center located in the Student Recreation Center-South along Bellevue Street.
The honor recognizes the long-time generosity of the Holcombs to Southeast Missouri State University. Their gift paved the way for major extensive renovation of the athletic weight room completed in January and will provide for major upgrades to the athletic academic services provided in the facility in the near future.
Dr. Holcomb, a retired family practitioner and Southeast alumnus, and his wife, Judy, have been active supporters of Southeast Athletics. Dr. Holcomb served as a team physician at Southeast for more than 30 years and has been a member of the Booster Board/Redhawks Club Board and an athletics season ticket holder for many years. The Holcombs made significant gifts to the Athletics Complex Campaign in the early 1990s, the Houck Stadium Campaign in 1999 and 2000, and the Top 20 Club from 2000-2005. They also established the John Holcomb Endowed Baseball Scholarship in 2012 and have a great affinity for Capaha Field, where Dr. Holcomb played baseball in his youth. He also played on the Southeast basketball team his freshman year before serving in the U.S. Navy.
Four generations of the Holcombs have attended Southeast, beginning with Dr. John Holcomb’s father through Dr. Holcomb’s grandson. The Holcombs have supported a number of other endeavors at Southeast, including the establishment of several scholarships in the areas of education and science. These include the Nell and Mildred Holcomb Endowed Scholarship in Education established in 1984, followed by many subsequent gifts to the fund, and the John and Judith Holcomb Pre-Med Endowed Scholarship established in 2012.
“On behalf of Southeast, I would like to express the University’s heartfelt appreciation for the Holcombs’ generosity and their vision for the Athletics program here,” said Bill Holland, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. “This gift has made an immediate impact on our student-athletes who have trained daily in the weight room since returning from winter break. The Holcombs also have made an extraordinary investment in the academic success of our student-athletes with funding to substantially upgrade the academic services area in the facility. This gift will be enjoyed by future generations of student-athletes at Southeast for many years to come.”
Dr. Holcomb’s ties to Southeast began as a child. He attended the former Campus School from kindergarten through 12th grade and has taken an active role in planning Campus School alumni reunions over the years. He graduated from Southeast with a biology degree in 1956, attended medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he established a scholarship, and served as a physician in Cape Girardeau for many years until his retirement.
The Holcombs have also shared their generosity with the broader community. Dr. Holcomb’s mother, Mildred Holcomb, and aunt, Nell Holcomb, were both teachers, who, he says instilled in him a great love of education. Nell Holcomb School is named for his aunt, and the Holcombs made a $100,000 gift to build a track at the school last fall.
At Southeast, the athletic weight room and academic services area in the Student Recreation Center-South offer student-athletes a place to develop athletically and academically. These athletic facilities are critical to the Department of Athletics’ mission to provide an outstanding collegiate experience for Southeast student-athletes, fostering academic and athletic success across all sports.
The Redhawks Strength & Conditioning program housed in the facility is committed to developing the total student-athlete through a competitive training environment focused on both reducing the risk of injury and maximizing individual athletic potential.
Located in the Student Recreation Center-South gym, Southeast’s weight room saw a complete renovation over winter break, thanks in large part to the Holcombs’ philanthropy
“The weight room renovation is a huge step forward for Southeast Athletics,” said Interim Director of Athletics Brady Barke. “Not only will it allow us to better train our student-athletes, but it will also serve as a tremendous recruiting tool for our coaches.”
Indoor turf, weights, equipment and lifting platforms were added as part of the renovation at a cost of $500,000. The facility now has more space and equipment to handle Southeast’s larger teams or multiple teams training at the same time.
Redhawk teams began training in the upgraded facility in January. Redhawk branding was added to the weight room in February, and upgraded lighting will enhance the space in the near future.
Thanks to the Holcombs, major improvements also will be made in late 2016 to the second floor of the building where athletic academic services are housed. This space provides student-athletes with places to study and features a computer lab with 30 work terminals and rooms for group meetings. Staff members assist student-athletes with life skills development, academic advising and academic progress toward degree requirements and NCAA eligibility. Tutors are also available as needed.
“Academic excellence is a core principle of our athletic program’s mission,” Barke said. “I’m grateful that the Holcombs share our vision to develop quality student-athletes.
“A renovated academic space in the facility will help give our student-athletes the best opportunity to advance their degree and prepare for life after college athletics,” he said. “In addition, the renovation will help our coaches continue to recruit and attract quality Division I student-athletes.”