Damian Field Named to Honor Ohio Dominican Benefactor
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Frank J. Damian, a southeast Columbus resident and member of Corpus Christi Church, has made a significant commitment to Ohio Dominican University (ODU). ODU will use the gift, part cash and part bequest, to renovate its baseball facility, Panther Valley; to establish a scholarship for students majoring in special education teaching; and to create a Presidential Discretionary Fund.
Damian, 83, is a long-time friend and supporter of ODU. His relationship began when his daughter, JoAnn, enrolled in 1994 as the first student at the Dominican Learning Center, which is run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, (formerly the Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs), who founded the University as the College of St. Mary of the Springs in 1911.
Damian was inspired to make this gift to honor his family, his wife of 49 years, Danica, who died in 1997, and their three special needs children. Sons Mark and Frank are sports enthusiasts who participated in Special Olympics for many years. Their participation in the Special Olympics helped Damian realize the benefits of an athletic experience. So, when the University proposed to Damian renovating Panther Valley, he thought it was a great way to support ODU athletes by providing a state-of-the-art facility in which to play ball. Planned renovations include a new electronic scoreboard, concession stand, restrooms, bleachers and press box.
“I believe all things come from God,” Damian said. “My sons were very active in the Special Olympics. My donation for the baseball field ties into my desire to help further sports programs.”
“We’re very grateful to Frank Damian for his continued support of the University and for his very generous gift,” said Interim President Ron Seiffert. “Future generations of Ohio Dominican athletes and fans will benefit from his contributions.”
ODU Baseball Coach Paul Page is in his 23rd year as the team’s head coach. Page said Damian’s gift helps take the program to the next level.
“The development of the Panther Valley Project is a vision and dream for this baseball program and a crucial step to the ongoing excellence of ODU baseball,” Page said. “Frank Damian’s generous contribution to this program and project will impact this program for years to come, in ways that are truly unimaginable. It is difficult to express in words, our appreciation to Mr. Damian for what he has done and what his gift means for Panther baseball. Everyone who has ever been affiliated with Ohio Dominican baseball owes a great deal of thanks to Frank Damian.”
Page is the winningest coach in school history. With 842 victories, he ranks 13th in all-time career wins among National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coaches. Under his leadership, the Panthers have competed in six NAIA World Series. Major League Baseball has drafted four Panther pitchers in the last six seasons, including Jonathan Sanchez in 2004. Sanchez threw the first no-hitter of the 2008-09 MLB season for the San Francisco Giants, ending the team’s streak of 32 straight seasons without a no-hitter.
Ohio Dominican will join the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II in 2011 as a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
ODU recognized Damian’s generous gift during a dedication ceremony for Frank Damian Field on Sunday, April 11, 2010. Damian threw the first pitch on the newly renamed field when ODU hosted a double-header against Shawnee State University.