ONU to Construct New Softball Stadium

Written by on January 19, 2023

ADA, Ohio – Ohio Northern University is pleased to announce it will build a new softball stadium through the generosity of lead donors Melinda (Durbin) Hileman, BA ’87, and David Hileman, BSBA ’86, BSPh ’86, longtime University supporters who have contributed their knowledge and resources in numerous ways.

Stadium construction will begin at the end of the Spring ’23 softball season with a dedication event planned later in the year. Among the planned features are heated dugouts, field lighting, a new scoreboard with updated technology, padded backstop, upgraded press box, and permanent bleachers with bucket seating. The university is working with architects at Fanning Howey in Celina, Ohio.

The new stadium, located in the DiBiasio Athletics Complex, will provide leading facilities for the university’s women’s softball team, which continues its winning tradition. During the 2021-2022 season the Polar Bears again qualified for the national tournament thanks to a stellar season. As OAC Tournament champions, the Polar Bears earned their second consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, and they garnered a No. 24 ranking in the Division III National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s final regular season poll on May 10.

“We are so grateful for this investment in our student-athletes,” says Athletics Director Tom Simmons. “The Hilemans have been a part of the ONU community for decades and were the founding members of our Polar Bear Club. Their gifts continue to provide the margin of excellence needed for our teams to compete at high levels.”

The Hilemans met on campus, where they were highly involved as leaders in student organizations, as letter winners and as athletes in multiple sports. Melinda Hileman is a member of the Athletics Hall of Fame, and David Hileman is the 2022 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Their gifts have been instrumental in establishing the endowments for softball and women’s basketball. In addition, the Hilemans have been generous supporters of academics in their respective colleges and the Northern Fund.

“Melinda and David Hileman continually seek to provide students with the fullest opportunities for growth and development,” says ONU President Melissa Baumann. “We are proud of their accomplishments and thankful for their support of the next generation of students. We are excited about the completion of the softball stadium in 2023.”

Current track