“Tonight’s 324th and final University of Akron football game at the 68-year-old Rubber Bowl will likely be the last Zips gridiron contest in which most fans in the stands don’t recognize the name Gary Taylor. The Firestone Park native and founder and Chairman of the Board of InfoCision Management Corp.””
Tonight’s 324th and final University of Akron football game at the 68-year-old Rubber Bowl will likely be the last Zips gridiron contest in which most fans in the stands don’t recognize the name Gary Taylor.
The Firestone Park native and founder and Chairman of the Board of InfoCision Management Corp.’s support is one of the primary reasons the Zips will move into a new on-campus stadium next fall.
Taylor and his wife Karen pledged $10 million over the next 20 years for the naming rights to InfoCision Stadium/Summa Field. Summa Health System will pay $5 million for the field’s naming rights.
Since the announcement was made in August 2007, Taylor’s repeatedly said the commitment was made as a way to give back to his alma mater and the community in which he calls home.
Karen and I made the commitment to be the naming sponsors for InfoCision Stadium primarily as a way to give back to the University and the community I grew up in, Taylor said via e-mail. We have both chosen to live our entire adult lives in the Akron area.
UA athletics director Mack Rhoades said the Taylors’ desire to help better their alma mater is genuine.
They’re the type of people that would have loved to have done this anonymously, Rhoades said. They’re not looking for any type of pat on the back or anything like that. It’s a gift that’s from their hearts.
Taylor graduated with his bachelor’s degree in marketing from UA in 1975 and his Masters of Business Administration from the school in 1977. He started IMC as a sole venture out of his home in 1982. What began as a consulting company that developed outbound telemarketing programs is now the second-largest privately held teleservice company in the country and employs more than 4,000 people.
The proud alum said UA was the setting for two of the most significant milestones in his life.
I met my future wife and was able to earn a graduate degree that helped me be successful in business, Taylor said.
The executive said he vividly remembers the day he got the letter informing him that he would be offered a graduate assistant position for the marketing professors in UA’s College of Business.
I barely had enough money to scrape my way through college and had to work two jobs to do it, he said. That (the assistantship) paid my tuition to earn my MBA and paid me a stipend.
One thing his college experience did not provide was the opportunity to enjoy a true campus environment.
There was no real campus when I went there, just a collection of buildings with open city streets running through them, he said.
Taylor said he and his wife only went to a few football games while at UA because of the Rubber Bowl’s distance from campus, but still has some fond memories of the iconic stadium.
I remember freezing in pouring rain and watching Turkey Day City Series Championship games on Thanksgiving mornings, especially when Garfield was playing, he said. I reflect back on when the Rubber Bowl was not as old as it is now and remember walking inside the stadium down the concourse to get a hot dog and Coke.
Taylor said he won’t miss the Zips’ old stomping ground. He’s anxiously awaiting the team’s move into its state-of-the-art home – what he believes is the last missing piece to elevate UA to the next level.
I really believe that the new stadium is the final missing piece to take the football program and the campus to the next level, Taylor said. I thank Dr. Proenza for leading the charge to totally remake a campus and university into something I could not have imagined when I went there. It is one of the most beautiful campuses at an urban university in the country.