Mount Vernon Nazarene College Athletics began in the gymnasiums of local schools, in parking lots and in the cornfields off of Martinsburg Road. When a $10 million gift was presented to MVNU, the same sense of spirit and “leadership giving” continued to bring MVNU and generous donor and friend Ariel Corporation together as Ariel Arena went from dream to reality.
“This is the culmination of a 15-year dream for MVNU. In order to offer a gymnasium commensurate with other colleges in our conference, we really needed to update our facilities,” said Denny Taylor, former Director of Special Projects.
Funding for Ariel Arena was generously provided by Dr. Karen Buchwald Wright, President and CEO of Ariel Corporation, a leading energy industry manufacturer in Mount Vernon, and President of the Ariel Foundation. Wright’s consistent financial support and leadership giving toward MVNU development projects prompted the Board of Trustees voted to unanimously vote to honor this partnership by naming the new structure Ariel Arena.
A groundbreaking ceremony in 2012 was followed by a grand opening at Homecoming 2013. Ariel Arena debuted with three full-sized athletic courts, a spacious lobby overlooking the arena, Foster Hall, state-of-the-art Boesger Fitness Center, cardio fitness and weight rooms, additional classrooms, locker rooms, and offices.
“Every time I enter Ariel Arena I can’t help but thank Jesus for the privilege and joy of practicing and competing in it. I am very thankful to Ariel Corporation and MVNU for building such an outstanding facility,” said Paul Swanson, head coach, women’s volleyball.
Since that day in 2013, Ariel Arena has housed many orientations, championships, community debates, conferences, classes, practices, and more. From thrilling opening games with the men’s and women’s basketball teams to post-season nail biters, the campus and local community are just getting to know one of the newest buildings on campus.
“There is nothing like being able to compete in Ariel Arena. It is an honor being a Cougar and calling Ariel our home court,” said Amanda Short, head coach, women’s basketball.
"I am so thankful to be able to coach and teach in such a beautiful, facility,” said Jared Ronai, head coach, men’s basketball. “We cannot thank Ariel Corporation and other contributors enough for investing into the lives of our students through this beautiful facility.”