Cavalier Corner

December 2018

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DECEMBER 2018 21 BY JEFF WHITE I N 2014, LISA PALMER AND HER mother, Frances, endowed a full scholarship at the University of Vir‑ ginia. It's awarded annually to a UVA softball player from outside the Com‑ monwealth who exemplifies leadership, hard work and dedication to the team. The first recipient, in 2014‑15, was Madi‑ son Labshere (El Cajon, Calif.). Then came Kaitlin Fitzgerald (Placentia, Calif.) in 2015‑16, followed by Erika Osherow (Darien, Conn.), who's the recipient of the Lisa and Frances Palmer Scholarship this academic year, as she was in 2016‑17 and 2017‑18. "My mother and I really wanted to make an impact on Virginia softball and give back and support it, because softball and the uni‑ versity made such an impact on both of our lives," Palmer said from Jacksonville, Fla., where she's president and chief financial officer of Regency Centers Corp. "When it appeared that there wasn't a lot of traction for a new stadium [in 2014], we pursued other options." For years, there had been talk at UVA of improving the softball facilities, but noth‑ ing significant came of those discussions. Thanks in large part to the Palmers' gener‑ osity, however, a new day is finally coming for a program that's perennially lagged be‑ hind most of its ACC counterparts. At its meeting at the Rotunda this month, UVA's Board of Visitors approved the sche‑ matic design for a new softball stadium. It will be located at the southwest corner of Massie and Copeley roads on what is now a practice field for soccer and lacrosse. The new stadium will be about seven‑tenths of a mile from the Cavaliers' current home, The Park, a no‑frills facility tucked out of sight in a far corner of North Grounds. "It's a game‑changer for us," said Joanna Hardin, who's in her third year as Virginia's head coach. "It gives us the opportunity to be on a national stage. It's not the bricks and mortar that make a program, but being vis‑ ible sure helps to gain momentum. "We're in the middle of the athletic pre‑ cinct, and so for anyone that's going to a basketball game, soccer game, lacrosse game, baseball game, we get to be right in the thick of it." A lead gift from Lisa and Frances Palmer is driving the project, which also will in‑ clude a player development center. UVA of‑ ficials broke ground in October and comple‑ tion of the project is expected prior to the start of the 2020 season. Once the Palmers saw a renewed commit‑ GIVING BACK Lisa Palmer Is Adding To Her Legacy With UVA Softball UVA officials broke ground on the new softball stadium and player development center in October and completion is expected prior to the start of the 2020 season. PHOTO COURTESY UVA

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