Support for NJIT takes many forms and some are literally concrete. In the case of the The Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility, it’s steel and a host of other materials, including concrete. Thanks to a gift from the family of Vincent J. Naimoli, this addition to the Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center will more than double the amount of space available for recreational sports, intramurals, athletic practice sessions and other school activities.
The new addition, which is to be dedicated March 3, 2011 at 11 a.m., will add some 25,000 square feet to the Athletic Center’s current 17,000 square feet of floor space. The space includes a six-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, two weight rooms, sauna, training room, locker rooms, racquetball courts, and jogging track. (ATTENTION EDITORS: To attend the dedication, call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.)
“We’re grateful for the generosity of the Naimoli family, who gives to NJIT in many ways,” said Charles R. Dees, Jr., PhD, Vice President for University Advancement. “I have known Vince Naimoli for many years, and would be hard put to name a more genuine, loyal, astute friend to this university. In my estimation, Vince rates MVP status among NJIT’s supporters for his gifts of time, talent and treasure that have marked this campus, and made a lasting difference here.”
Built in 1967 and expanded in 1990, the Fleisher Athletic Center has been hard pressed to accommodate the needs of the university’s growing student body. The Naimoli family has long been among NJIT’s most generous supporters. Naimoli, who earned a master’s in mechanical engineering in 1962 from Newark College of Engineering, is chairman emeritus and founder of the Tampa Bay Rays and a member of the NJIT Board of Overseers. As chief executive officer of Anchor Industries International, he was voted 1995 Florida Entrepreneur of the Year in the turnaround category. In 1999, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, and in 2004 was inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.
NJIT Athletics Director Lenny Kaplan said that plans for the fully air-conditioned Naimoli Recreation Facility include a floor surface suitable for a variety of indoor recreational sports and intramural competitions. The wood floor of the Fleisher Athletic Center provides a venue suited primarily for basketball and volleyball. “Our intention is that the new space will accommodate indoor tennis, soccer, cricket and other recreational activities,” Kaplan says. “But that’s not the full story. It will be ‘programmable’ space that allows multiple uses at the same time. We also see it as being available for pre-college programs, career fairs, conferences ― you name it.”
Comparing the NJIT of today with the institution of his days as a graduate student, Naimoli says, “Academic growth, the construction of new buildings, and improvements in the overall appearance of the campus have been amazing. Adequate facilities for athletics and personal physical fitness are an important part of this progress. They encourage activity that I feel is really valuable for a healthy outlook on life as well as a healthy body. I’m very pleased that the Naimoli family can help to provide state-of-the-art space that the NJIT community needs not only for recreational athletics, but for a wide range of other uses.”