Featured image for post: New Michalak Tennis Center on the Horizon at Barton College

New Michalak Tennis Center on the Horizon at Barton College

WILSON, N.C. — March 1, 2024 — Barton College is pleased to announce the naming of the Michalak Tennis Center through a generous lead gift by trustee Daniel Michalak, M.D., and his wife Paula Michalak of Wilson, long-time supporters of the College.

While the modern game of tennis was established in England in the late 1800s, Barton College can boast its own rich, century-plus legacy of tennis, highlighted by two national championships during the NAIA era, as well as numerous team and individual conference titles. That distinctive tennis history is, in part, why the Michalaks have chosen to support the renovation of the Barton College tennis complex.

“Barton College is most grateful to Barton trustee Dr. Dan Michalak and his wife, Paula, for their lead gift to the tennis complex renovation,” said Dr. Douglas N. Searcy, president of Barton College. “Their generosity will help the College continue its history of student-athletes excelling on the courts, while demonstrating leadership in and out of the classroom. The Michalaks’ gift will allow the College to establish a new tennis center that will serve as a premier tennis facility in our athletics conference, as well as providing a regional tennis competition destination that can be shared with our community for years to come.”

The Michalaks’ lead gift towards the Barton Tennis Complex Renovation will name the Michalak Tennis Center on campus, currently under construction. The new tennis center will build upon and positively represent the rich tradition of the Barton’s Tennis Program. Not only will the new facility benefit current student-athletes, but it will also help tremendously with the recruitment of new Bulldog student-athletes and further elevate the program, regionally and nationally.

“We are delighted to be able to help Barton College build this new tennis complex,” noted Dr. and Mrs. Michalak. “Barton has been generous to the Wilson tennis community. Our family has enjoyed both playing and watching tennis matches at the previous site, and we very much look forward to watching more tennis at Barton in the future.”

In addition to their lead gift for the tennis project, Barton College is grateful to the Michalaks for their long-standing support of Barton’s mission and our students. In addition to tennis, they have consistently supported many areas on campus including the Annual Fund, student scholarships, and cultural arts. In 2017, the Michalaks established the Michalak Family Endowed Scholarship to support a rising junior or senior nursing student.

Barton College is committed to its tennis program and has targeted completion of the renovated complex in time for the 2024-2025 academic year. The estimated cost of this critical project is $1,500,000. The College has raised $903,000 to date, thanks to the transformative lead gift from the Michalaks, as well as the generous gifts from other major donors, including tennis alumni and enthusiasts: Gary McMahan, ’69; Anne Adams Bost, ’73; Joan Adams Jones, ’77; Susan Maxwell Bane, ’87; Gareth Hosford, ’91; George Newsome, ’95; Tom Parham, ’63, and Jimmy and Mary Edmundson.

“We hope our commitment to this worthwhile project will inspire Barton College alumni and other members of our community to also generously contribute gifts to move this significant work forward,” added the Michalak couple. “This is an exciting time for Barton College and our Wilson community.”

The Michalak Tennis Center Renovation Plan includes the reconstruction of the existing 12 tennis courts (the existing courts were razed, and ground was broken for the new courts on February 5); addressing immediate drainage issues; providing new fencing, nets, and net posts; correcting perimeter drainage challenges; replacing spectators’ seating; and adding new LED court lights. In addition, four of the 12 courts will be lined for Pickleball.

Barton is seeking support of this project through alumni and friends of the College. An additional $600,000 is required to fully fund the renovation. Naming opportunities for seven of the 12 courts are still available. Additional naming opportunities are also available for benches, the coach’s office, and a supporters’ wall.

The game of tennis may start with “love,” but it often becomes a lifelong affair for those who truly care about this cherished centuries-old sport.

To learn more about the Michalak Tennis Center Renovation Plan or to make a gift, please contact Kelly Taranto, vice president for institutional advancement at Barton College, at kltaranto@barton.edu or 252-399-6517, or Tom Maze, assistant vice president for leadership giving at Barton College, at tmaze@barton.edu or 252-399-6533.