SU athletics announces creation of Champions Fund

Salisbury Independent
Posted 4/4/24

With 47 team and individual national titles, and 196 conference crowns, the Salisbury...

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SU athletics announces creation of Champions Fund


SALISBURY — With 47 team and individual national titles, and 196 conference crowns, the Salisbury University Sea Gulls are no strangers to championships.

Thanks to the generosity of long-time supporters Dr. Thomas “Tom” and Nancy Jones, future Sea Gull teams heading into postseason play will have some additional help with travel costs through the newly established Champions Fund.

“One thing I knew when I first arrived at Salisbury is that our teams are very successful,” said Monica Gordy Polizzi, SU director of athletics and campus recreation. “What you don’t see until you get here, however, is just how much it costs to operate beyond our regular season. The creation of this fund is critical to the continued success of our athletic department and I am grateful to Tom and Nancy for spearheading this effort that will help us travel and compete in the post-season while also rewarding our student-athletes for post-season success.”

The new fund is unique in that it exists as an endowment, with a principal amount that will remain constant. The rest is for current use and accessible immediately by SU Athletics teams for postseason play needs. The fund is open to contributions, and donors can decide if they want to support the endowment’s corpus or the current use funds when giving.

The initiative will help cover postseason travel expenses, such as busses, flights, hotels and meals for student-athletes on SU’s 23 NCAA men’s and women’s varsity teams, as well as the purchase of championship rings and other awards.

“The cost of everything, from fuel to food, is on the rise, and that makes this fund more important than ever,” said Tom Jones who, with his wife, Nancy, is making the initial commitment to start the endowment. “Since Salisbury has a lot of athletic success, this fund could be depleted quickly. That is why it is critical that donors step up and make a contribution to provide the best post-season experience we can for our Sea Gulls. We are honored to help get this crucial fund off the ground to help Salisbury University Athletics.”

The Joneses are no strangers to SU. Tom began teaching in the University’s Biological Sciences Department in 1977, retiring in 2007 after serving nine years as dean of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology and two years as the institution’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. He and Nancy are both ardent Sea Gull fans.

As an incentive to donate to the Champions Fund, all contributors who make a commitment of $10,000 or more, in a single gift or as part of a multi-year pledge, will be members of the “Champions Circle,” an organization recognizing top donors to the initiative. Each member will have their name on a donor wall on the Suite Level of Sea Gull Stadium; will receive a Champions Circle lapel pin; and, when teams win National Championships, will receive an exclusive commemorative gift along with the team.

All supporters of the fund will be invited to exclusive gatherings each year, as well as championship team reunions. Donors who contribute $50,000 or more in total will receive a ring whenever teams win national championships. As with all athletic giving, donors immediately become members of SU’s Maroon & Gold Club, which offers additional benefits, including prime seating to watch as the Sea Gulls pave the way to even more national titles.

“I am confident those numbers will grow each year,” said Polizzi. “We have to make sure we can continue to support all of our Sea Gull student-athletes and coaches as they continue to represent SU so well.”

The Champions Fund is part of SU’s Centennial Scholars Challenge, announced by SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre during her fall 2024 State of the University address. Its goal is to secure 100 gifts and pledges of $10,000 or more to fund new scholarships and academic and athletic awards by the end of the 2025-26 academic year in commemoration of the University’s milestone 100th anniversary.

The fund also is the first to benefit from a $100,000 incentive, announced by the Salisbury University Foundation, Inc., to provide $5,000 for the first 20 qualifying pledges of $20,000 or more to established new endowments at SU. Backing for the incentive comes from funds raised by the foundation’s annual Sea Gull Century bicycle tour.

“The gift by Tom and Nancy Jones to endow the new Champions Fund will help SU student-athletes for years to come,” said Jason Curtin, SU vice president of advancement and executive director of the SU Foundation, Inc. “We could not be happier to support their generosity through this incentive, and we look forward to working with others to make their donations go further, as well.”

To learn more about the Centennial Scholars Challenge and the SU Foundation incentive, call 410-677-0084 or email Amy Luppens, SU director of development, at

For more information about SU Athletics, visit For information about the SU Foundation and how your gift can make a difference at SU, visit

Learn more about SU and opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at

salisbury university, sea gulls, athletics, championship, fund
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