Akron beams with pride

“The site of the new stadium was full of awestruck onlookers for the topping off ceremony Tuesday afternoon. The ceremony hosted about 75 people, many from the University of Akron and surrounding businesses. Keynote speakers included Mack Rhodes, director of UA athletics, President Luis Proenza, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, UA alumni and founder and chairman of InfoCision Management Gary Taylor and President and CEO of Summa Health System Tom Strauss.”

The site of the new stadium was full of awestruck onlookers for the topping off ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The ceremony hosted about 75 people, many from the University of Akron and surrounding businesses.

Keynote speakers included Mack Rhodes, director of UA athletics, President Luis Proenza, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, UA alumni and founder and chairman of InfoCision Management Gary Taylor and President and CEO of Summa Health System Tom Strauss.

Julie Robin, Executive Vice President at First Merit Bank, started the celebration off by presenting President Luis Proenza with a check for UA.

The check totaled one million dollars and in return UA will name the fifth level of the new stadium after the bank.

While each person who spoke thanked those involved in the stadium the overall ceremony was light and humorous, with many cracking jokes along the way.

Plusquellic made a joke about him playing football years ago and Strauss followed by mispronouncing Proenza’s last name.

I just can’t say it, Strauss said jokingly.

When asked if the stadium was going to be ready in time, Curtis answered by giving the opening countdown to the seconds.

I don’t want to get into details, Curtis retorted with a smirk.

Along with the joking came more serious moments.

Proenza stated that by signing the beam they supported to the university and the new stadium.

Students were asked to sign a beam last week, and UA officials had the chance to sign another beam that will be placed in the press tower.

At one end of the beam, they had placed an American flag and the other an Evergreen tree. Proenza stated the flag was symbolic of the American dream as the evergreen was for good fortune to the structure’s occupants.

Once those in attendance had their chance to sign the beam, it was hoisted into the sky.

I think its going to be a great addition to the skyline of the city, Plusquellic said in reference to the new structure. I think we’re going to see additional activity around this part of the city, which is important.

He pointed out some people have nostalgic feelings towards the rubber bowl.

It was so expensive to just shore it up just to get it in decent condition so it was safe for the long term, he said.

Plusquellic’s views come from that of an athlete, Taylor’s comes from a former student.

It was a way to give back, Taylor said. A highlight of my life was getting the graduate assistantship. He said the school helped him get to where he is today.

Plusquellic stated his intent on attending the opening game. He said the only thing that could keep him away would be the President of the United States.

Taylor said he wouldn’t miss the opening game for anything.

From the sounds of it very few people would.