GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard, who enjoyed a record-setting collegiate career at East Carolina University, and his wife Mary have committed $250,000 as a Leadership Gift Donor in the Pirate Club's "Step Up To The Highest Level Campaign" aimed towards athletic facility additions and expansion.
The public phase of the $15 million capital campaign, an initiative to provide private funding for a practice facility utilized by the ECU men's and women's basketball programs, was officially announced in early November. The Garrards, along with 29 other top donors who have committed from $100,000 to $2 million, were recently introduced during halftime of the Pirates' contest against Navy at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
David and Mary Garrard, who both competed collegiately as Pirate student-athletes, are hopeful their leadership will encourage other letterwinners and alumni to share their vision.
"As former student-athletes at East Carolina University, Mary and I believe that it is important to give back to our university to help perpetuate the experience we both enjoyed during our college years," David Garrard said. "We are proud of all the athletic facility improvements which have been constructed or are being constructed on ECU's campus, from the recent endzone expansion of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium bringing its seating capacity to 50,000 seats, to new venues for softball, soccer and track. We are proud of our East Carolina University experience and equally proud of efforts to give all Pirate student-athletes the opportunity to practice and play in first-class venues.
"Further, we thank God that we have been blessed, and as a result are in a position to make a leadership commitment to this important campaign," he added. "It is our hope that other ECU letterwinners and alumni will follow our example."
Mary Garrard, who earned her bachelor's degree from East Carolina in 2003, lettered as a member of the Pirate women's tennis program in 1999 and 2000. David Garrard was a four-year football letterman who led ECU to 29 victories and three bowl game appearances from 1998 to 2001, and in the process, established 28 school passing and total offense records. The three-time All-Conference USA performer was selected by the Jaguars with the 10th pick of the fourth round in the 2002 NFL Draft at the completion of his collegiate career.
The couple also supports worthy causes, which have had an impact on David's life, through charitable foundations they have established. The David Garrard Foundation has supported breast cancer research, increased Crohn's Disease awareness and promoted healthy lifestyles for kids. After losing his mother to breast cancer as a young teenager, he was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease shortly after beginning his professional career - an ailment he has battled through the majority of his years with the Jaguars.
"David and Mary Garrard are both former student-athletes who want to provide others with the same opportunities they had here at East Carolina University," ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland said. "This generous gift to the `Step Up To The Highest Level Campaign' will impact all our sports in various ways as the Olympic Sports Complex nears completion and anticipation builds for the ground-breaking of the new basketball practice facility."