PROVIDENCE, R.I. — To solidify Brown Water Polo as a leading national program, Brown University has secured over $6 million in gifts during the BrownTogether campaign in its efforts to endow fully the men’s and women’s programs. Combined with previous gifts, the University has raised a total of $8.19 million in water polo endowment commitments and is seeking to reach the $13.5 million mark, specifically for water polo, within the current campaign.
The establishment of the Brown Water Polo Program Endowment will ensure that the legacy and tradition of Brown Water Polo is sustained and will position Brown as the first NCAA Division I institution to endow fully both its men’s and women’s water polo programs.
“Brown Water Polo has the unique opportunity to establish endowed programs for men and women simultaneously while continuing to develop its student-athletes into leaders, mentors, and champions,” said Vice President of Athletics and Recreation M. Grace Calhoun ’92, Ph.D. “Endowing both the men’s and women’s programs will provide a championship culture for Head Coaching Chair for Water Polo Felix Mercado, his staff, and the student-athletes while propelling them to conference titles.”
Under Mercado, the men’s program has produced 14 All-America selections and posted nine 20-win seasons in the last 10 years, including a 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship appearance after claiming the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) title. The women’s program has finished with seven 20-win seasons during his tenure, and produced seven All-America selections. Out of the pool, both programs have been national leaders in academic achievement under Mercado’s leadership.
“I am incredibly proud of Brown Water Polo’s rich tradition of excellence both in and out of the pool,” said Mercado. “My vision for Brown Water Polo since arriving on College Hill 14 years ago has been to continue building on its already well-established reputation. Endowing fully both programs would be another huge step toward elevating our teams to be perennial contenders for conference titles and NCAA Tournament bids.”
The first water polo endowment at Brown was established in 1994. The $6.1 million secured during the current BrownTogether campaign is highlighted by $2 million to endow the women’s assistant coach position. Funds raised have also been used to support Brown Water Polo’s coaching and programmatic priorities, which support the scouting and recruitment of athletes and build team schedules that allow the Bears to compete across the country.
Thanks to initial commitments to the endowment plan, made by members of both the men’s and women’s water polo communities spanning from the 1970s through the 2010s, the programs have surpassed the halfway point of the $13.5 million goal.
Among the top priorities within the remaining $5.31 million to raise are the endowing of the men’s assistant coach position at $2 million and travel and programmatic endowments to support competing on the national stage, recruiting future Bears, and the operations needs of a championship-caliber program. Endowed funds can be named starting at $100,000, in addition to select naming opportunities available within the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center at the Nelson Fitness Center.
“As Coach Mercado’s first recruit on College Hill, I am honored to support both the men’s and women’s programs under his direction,” said Toby Espinosa ’12, whose $250,000 commitment will name the team meeting room at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. “I am excited to continue the incredible tradition of giving started by our alumni in the 1970s. It’s time to give back to the programs and University that gave so much to us—and it’s time to solidify the future of Brown Water Polo!”