Steinbrenner makes donation to MIT

Steinbrenner makes donation to MIT

A major piece of George Steinbrenner's legacy as the principal owner of the New York Yankees takes shape each day in the Bronx, as the new Yankee Stadium grows nearer to its Opening Day in 2009.

But Steinbrenner's vision has not been limited to the baseball franchise. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced on Tuesday that the Steinbrenner Foundation has pledged $1 million to help with additional construction for their sports facility.

Henry G. Steinbrenner, the father of the Yankees' owner, was a 1927 graduate of MIT. In 1977, George Steinbrenner and his sisters, Susan and Judith, provided MIT with a significant contribution for the construction of an athletic stadium in honor of their father.

"It is our honor and privilege to ensure that future athletes, fans, and the entire MIT community will be able to continue to enjoy the Steinbrenner Stadium for generations to come," George Steinbrenner said in a statement.

MIT said Steinbrenner's $1 million donation will aid in the construction of a new entrance and pathway from Vassar Street to Steinbrenner Stadium, and will also help with lighting, seating and a new press box.

"The legacy of the Steinbrenner connection to MIT lives on through this generous gift from the Steinbrenner Foundation," said Julie Soriero, MIT's director of athletics.

"This provides us with funding to upgrade our stadium seating, access areas and working press box. This will vastly improve Steinbrenner Stadium as it currently exists, making it an outstanding venue in which to compete or watch a game. We are appreciative of the continued generosity from the Steinbrenner family."

The donation follows a $1 million pledge in September by the Yankees in support of relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike.

The club's donation was to be split between the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army and go directly to the support and assistance of all the community-based organizations along the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana and Texas.

In honor of Steinbrenner's continued generosity, the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Commission and the Tampa City Council voted unanimously to recommend changing the name of the Yankees' Spring Training facility from Legends Field to George M. Steinbrenner Field. The change was made to recognize Steinbrenner for his charitable donations on behalf of youth activities, hospitals and the arts. A ceremony was held during the Yankees' final home Spring Training game on March 27.

With a street already named after Steinbrenner in Tampa, the area also plans to adorn an educational facility with the name of baseball's longest-tenured owner. George M. Steinbrenner High School will open its doors in 2009 in Hillsborough County, north of Tampa.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.