Story by Tracy Kile Schwartz
Gene (’70, ’72) and Carol (’71) Vaughan have supported the Department of Health and Exercise Science for 15 years, and now, they have named the courtyard of the new HES Teaching Facility.
The Vaughans came to CSU more than 50 years ago. They earned their degrees in physical education in the early 1970s and have proudly displayed their sense of Ram Pride ever since, with philanthropic support ranging from facilities to programmatic gifts.
Inspired by Gay Israel
Recently, the Vaughans joined friends, faculty, and staff to celebrate their continued support for community outreach programs and to dedicate the Gene and Carol Vaughan Courtyard to former department head, the late Gay Israel.
Gene noted the evolution of the department from Health and Physical Education to Health and Exercise Science, with Israel leading the transformation. “You couldn’t talk to Gay without feeling inspired,” Gene said. The courtyard sign reads “Gene and Carol Vaughan Courtyard: In recognition of Dr. Gay Israel, for his exemplary leadership, inspiration, and community impact.”
“[Gene and Carol] were two of the first people to step up and honor us by getting engaged in a dream of moving the department forward in the areas of research and outreach with the Human Performance Clinical/Research Lab,” explained Israel in a video recorded for the 2015 Homecoming Breakfast. With their successful business, RE/MAX ALLIANCE, the Vaughans named the Conference Room in the HPCRL in 1999.
Supporters of Homecoming 5K
Israel, who led the department from 1996 until 2014, appealed to the Vaughans as alumni and savvy investors interested in events and programs that align community engagement with health, such as the Homecoming Race. 2016 marks the 11th year of RE/MAX Homecoming Race sponsorship, which has helped expand the race from 300 to 2,000 participants.
This increase has propelled the growth of the department’s Heart Disease Prevention Program, a beneficiary of the race. And for the past six years, the Vaughans have added to their impact by investing in Youth Sport Camps scholarships, allowing children of all financial means to participate in enriching summer and after-school activities.
At the courtyard dedication event, Gene remarked on the proximity of the courtyard to Moby Arena, which opened during his days as a student on January 27, 1966, with a basketball victory over New Mexico State. He reminisced with fellow alumni about influential department and athletics leaders from that era, including professors John Nettleton, Elliott Plese, and Bo Cowel, who instilled in students a sense of purpose and community.
Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, applauded the Vaughans’ dedication and generosity. “Gene and Carol’s partnership with the department, the college, and CSU over the decades is inspiring. We are grateful for their philanthropic investment and loyalty.”
Health and Exercise Science family
Health and Exercise Science Department Head Barry Braun reiterated Gene’s value of the importance of the family feel of the largest undergraduate major on campus. “The HES family includes our students, our faculty and staff, and our alumni and community partners, including Gene and Carol Vaughan. Their investment in this courtyard allows us to deliver novel hands-on learning opportunities for our students in the new teaching classroom and laboratory,” said Braun.
The lab doors that open from the new HES Teaching Facility to the Gene and Carol Vaughan Courtyard allow faculty and students to extend the learning environment beyond the walls of the lab.
In addition to the new sign recognizing the Vaughans and their regard for Israel, the courtyard sports a red stripe in the concrete representing an EKG strip marked with Mobilitas Aequat Valetudinem, the Latin translation of the department philosophy that “movement equals health.”
When asked what motivated their long-term support of the department, Carol said, “It’s just our dedication to CSU. We love to support it. We’ve met so many wonderful people, and it’s just what we do.”
Gene reinforced her commitment.
“You can’t live here and not be grateful and integrated into the campus. It’s just so important. You want to be a part of it,” he said.
A scholarship fund has been established in Israel’s name. Before his death in April, Israel praised the Vaughans’ commitment and impact.
“Thank you to Gene and Carol for all they’ve done for HES,” he said. “I value their friendship, their leadership, and their example more than they will ever know.”