Barrington residents Richard and Roxelyn (Roxy) Pepper have pledged $5 million to Northwestern University, their alma mater, as a challenge to raise funds needed to renovate the university's baseball stadium, university President Morton Schapiro announced this week.
If the university is able to raise the additional amount by Oct. 1, the Peppers will provide the project's final $5 million for the proposed renovations to Rocky Miller Park, which will include new home and visitor locker rooms and training facilities, an upgraded press box, a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and expanded seating.
"We are grateful to the Peppers for their generosity and for their leadership in challenging others to help fund athletics, including critical renovations of Rocky Miller Park," Schapiro said. "The planned improvements will benefit both our student-athletes and our fans, but we need to meet our goal to make it all happen."
The stadium is named for Roxy Pepper's late father, Dr. J. Roscoe (Rocky) Miller, who was president of Northwestern from 1949 to 1970. Home to Wildcats baseball since 1943, Rocky Miller Park was last renovated in 1983.
Richard Pepper, chairman of The Pepper Companies, received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Northwestern in 1953. Roxy Pepper received a degree in communication sciences and disorders from Northwestern in 1953. The two met and married while undergraduate students at Northwestern.
Richard and Roxy Pepper have been longtime volunteers and benefactors of Northwestern. Both have served as leaders for several alumni organizations and on their class reunion committee. Roxy Pepper also was a member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1989. In 2001, they jointly received Northwestern's Alumni Medal, the highest honor awarded to alumni.
In 2005, the Peppers made a generous gift to Northwestern's School of Communication to endow the department of communication sciences and disorders.
Richard and Roxy Pepper also made a significant contribution in 1997 to endow the undergraduate laboratories in civil and environmental engineering and to assist in the renovation of the Technological Institute, the building that houses the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The civil engineering wing of the Technological Institute was named at that time in honor of the family.
In 1978, the Peppers established the Stanley F. Pepper Chair in Civil Engineering in honor of Richard's father.