family pledges more than $4 million for KU Hall of Athletics
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway
(left) examines an artist¹s rendering of
the KU Hall of Athletics with Mark Booth (second
from left), David Booth, KU Associate Athletics
Director John Hadl and KU Athletics Director Lew
In honor of their parents' love of University of Kansas
athletics and the sacrifices they made for their children,
the family of the late Gilbert and Betty Booth have
committed more than $4 million for a Hall of Athletics
at Allen Fieldhouse.
Originally announced anonymously in February, the pledge
to the Kansas University Endowment Association is from
the Booths' children and grandchildren. Booth family
members pledging their support are David and Suzanne
Booth of Los Angeles and their children, Erin and Chandler;
Mark and Lauren Bacich Booth of London and their children,
Miles, Coco and Cyrus; Mark and Jane Booth Berkley of
Tescott, Kan., and their children and spouses, Stuart
and Tina Berkley, Elizabeth and Pete Reininga, and Melissa
and Marco Ungaschik.
Their gift will help fund construction of an addition
to be built on the east side of Allen Fieldhouse, home
of KU's basketball programs. The Hall of Athletics will
feature memorabilia spanning more than a century of
KU athletics programs, a ticket office and a store.
Construction is expected to begin in 2005.
"The Hall of Athletics will be an outstanding
facility that will honor the achievements of dozens
of exceptional former KU student-athletes," said
Lew Perkins, director of athletics. "With the support
of the Booth family, we will now have a place for all
Jayhawk fans to experience the history of KU's strong
Betty and Gilbert were longtime residents of Garnett,
Kan., until 1959. That year, although Jane and David
had not yet completed high school, the family relocated
to Lawrence so David and Jane could eventually attend
"This wasn't a time when people were mobile,"
said Jane, who attended KU from 1963 to 1965. "Looking
back, it was a huge sacrifice for them after living
in Garnett for so long. We can't imagine how much they
gave up for us."
Their new home at 1931 Naismith was just down the street
from Allen Fieldhouse. Jane said that living so close
allowed the family to feel like they were an integral
part of the University, where they often attended cultural
events and football and basketball games. An added bonus
for Mark, c'78, was the proximity to KU men's basketball
"It was very exciting to be a young boy who could
go watch practices and get to know the players,"
Mark said. "The players were always very kind.
They would occasionally let me win a game of '21' and
gave me a jersey now and then."
David, c'68, g'69, added that a gift for Allen Fieldhouse
was an appropriate memorial.
"When I get to see games at Allen Fieldhouse,
I get flashbacks to my years at KU and the times I went
to basketball games with my parents," David said.
"KU athletics were more than just sporting events
to us; they were a way of life."
Mark said the gift was the best way to honor two dedicated
parents and Jayhawk supporters.
"We were fortunate to have wonderful parents who
made us believe that anything was possible," Mark
said. "KU basketball and Allen Fieldhouse were
things they both loved. It seems a fitting tribute to
give this gift in honor of two very lovely people."
Gilbert was in the U.S. Air Force during World War
II and attained the rank of sergeant. When he returned
to Garnett, he ran a local IGA and sold cars. For many
years he traveled the south-central portion of Kansas
as a route manager for the Kansas City Star, retiring
in 1981. He died in 1985.
Betty and Gilbert married in Garnett in 1944. Originally
given emergency certification to teach in Pomona, Kan.,
during World War II, Betty earned a degree in education
from Ottawa University in 1968. She taught from 1968
until 1980 at Kaw Valley rural school and also in Eudora.
She died in 1995.
The Booth family's gift counts toward the goal of KU
First: Invest in Excellence, the largest fund-raising
campaign in KU history. KU Endowment is conducting KU
First on behalf of KU through 2004 to raise in excess
of $600 million for scholarships, fellowships, professorships,
capital projects and program support. KU Endowment serves
as the independent, non-profit fund-raising and fund-management
organization for KU.