STOCKTON, Calif. - University of the Pacific's student-athletes will reap the benefits of a new upgrade to the Chris Kjledsen Pool, thanks to a generous donation from long-time local supporters, the Bank of Stockton and the Eberhardt Family.
The donation will be used to purchase what will be one of the largest collegiate aquatics video boards in the country. The gift comes following the October 2017 launch of Leading with Purpose, a university-wide comprehensive campaign to raise $300 million by 2022. The campaign builds on Pacific's commitment to provide student-athletes with the resources they need to be successful in the classroom and in competition.
"Few families have had more of an impact on this athletics program and our campus communities here at Pacific than the Eberhardt family and Bank of Stockton," said Director of Athletics Janet Lucas. "From their support of the Pacific Athletic Foundation and our athletic teams to the Eberhardt School of Business and Community Involvement Program, they have had a direct impact on so many students' lives for generations. Their generosity and leadership are extraordinary."
This past winter, the men's 200 free relay team broke the program record with an NCAA A Cut time of 1:17.29. The men's and women's water polo teams also made their way into the school records, clinching their highest national ranking with the men at No. 1 and women at No. 6. The men's team also secured back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances.
"To have amazing people in the community supporting the Pacific aquatics programs is such a huge blessing," said Peter Richardson, Pacific's men's and women's swimming head coach. "Pacific Aquatics has experienced unparalleled success these past couple of years and that is a direct reflection of the support we have from terrific donors such as the Bank of Stockton."
The scoreboard, which will be installed prior to the school's first water polo match this fall, will see plenty of playtime as Pacific and Visit Stockton will host the 2019 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship and the 2020 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship at the Chris Kjeldsen Pool. This marks the first time a water polo NCAA Championship has come to Stockton, and the first time in any sport since the 1986 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
"Our men's and women's water polo programs are truly fortunate to have the support of the Bank of Stockton and the Eberhardt family," said head coach James Graham. "This amazing gift is going to completely change the fan and athlete experience here at Pacific."
The Bank of Stockton's close association with Pacific began in the early 1920s when then university President Tully C. Knoles spearheaded an effort to move the university from San Jose to Stockton. He called upon Gene Wilhoit, the fifth president of the Bank of Stockton, to assist with financing and fundraising. Wilhoit was a graduate of College of the Pacific on the San Jose campus and in 1922 was elected to the university's Board of Regents. In 1924, Wilhoit and Knoles formed the committee to raise funds to bring Pacific to Stockton, and the Stockton Campus was born.
In 1927, R.L. Eberhardt was hired by Wilhoit as the Bank of Stockton's cashier. In 1936, Eberhardt succeeded Wilhoit as president of Bank of Stockton, and the Eberhardt family's close ties with the university became the foundation of their philanthropic support ever since. The Bank of Stockton and the Eberhardt family have positively and generously impacted campus life for decades with the naming of the Eberhardt School of Business in 1995, participation on Pacific's Board of Regents, the founding of the Student Investment Fund, and strong support for athletics with R.L. Eberhardt's sons, Bob and Douglass Eberhardt, named to the Pacific Athletics Hall of Fame.
For the latest on the Pacific Water Polo be sure to follow @pacificwaterpolo on Instagram and @UOPWaterPoloU and @UOPwwp on Twitter. Also, makes sure to follow Pacific Aquatics @uopswimanddive on Instagram and @PacTigersH20 on Twitter.