March 26, 2010
By Chris Megginson / Campbellsville University Sports Information
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Giving back is nothing new for Country Music legend Vince Gill. The singer/song writer took the stage Friday night at Campbellsville University’s Ransdell Chapel in front of a sold-out crowd to raise money for CU athletics’ “More Than a Game” fundraising campaign.
“We are deeply honored to have had a popular entertainer like Vince Gill give of his time and talent to support our ‘More Than a Game’ athletic fundraising effort,” said Rusty Hollingsworth, CU director of athletics. “This was a great night for Campbellsville University and the student-athletes who will benefit from his generosity.”
More than $40,000 was raised to help fund the addition of synthetic turf and lights to Campbellsville’s football field and lights at the baseball stadium.
Gill, who holds numerous charity events each year, is familiar with sports fundraising efforts, as an avid golfer and also a friend to Belmont University basketball.
“I’m a sports nut,” Gill said. “Sometimes it takes some of the athletic programs to help put the school on the map.”
But overall, it’s about giving and helping provide a better future for today’s youth that helped bring Gill to Campbellsville.
The journey to CU began in California back in October, when golfing buddy Steve Finley, nephew of Campbellsville football patriarch Ron Finley, asked Gill if he’d be willing to do a benefit concert.
Gill jumped at the idea.
“I love my friends, and I tell you, nine times out of 10 when you do some kind of a charitable thing, you’re reacting to someone else’s passion. It just makes sense to help somebody else out,” Gill said. “Plus, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Kentucky. When I moved away from home at 18, this was my home. I really love the state.”
Finley, while connected to CU’s athletic history, said he asked the favor more for CU’s future athletes than its past ties – mainly freshman football player Westley Cadena, who Finley has mentored since age 6. “I’m doing this, because the school took a chance on Westley,” Finley said. To Finley, Gill was a natural pick to ask the favor.
“He’s the most giving of anybody I know in Nashville on the entertainment side,” Finley said. “The people will love him in Campbellsville. I’ve seen him in every venue, from 30 to 40 in a small room to 10,000 people. This was a nice venue tonight.”
Prior to the concert, Gill was the dinner guest of Campbellsville President Dr. Michael V. Carter at the Betty Dobbins Heilman House, the president’s home, on campus.
“We were thrilled to have Vince Gill come to Campbellsville University in support of our ‘More Than a Game’ campaign. His performance was terrific and his love to help others comes through with such sincerity,” Carter said. “We feel honored that he cares so deeply about helping young people grow and mature through Christian higher education.”
The concert was organized and directed through the Campbellsville University Office of Development and the Big Maroon Club.
“It is a rare opportunity to have a person of Vince Gill’s stature at Campbellsville University,” Chuck Vaughn, director of the Big Maroon Club, said.
“Not only is Vince a Hall of Fame country music artist but he also has a generous heart. He is well known for his humanitarian spirit and our ‘More Than a Game’ campaign is a beneficiary. This is just one more way that Vince Gill is giving back to help others,” Vaughn said.
“Also, a special thanks goes out to Steve Finley for his help in arranging for Vince to perform.”
During that same October dinner with Gill, Finley helped organize Campbellsville’s next fundraising effort – a dinner and auction with NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. Butkus will be the guest of Campbellsville University as keynote speaker at a dinner and auction April 16. The dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple.
For fans who missed the special Campbellsville University performance, Gill will have four concert dates in April, within three hours of Campbellsville. He is next scheduled to appear at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on April 2, 3 and 10. He will also be at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on April 19.