(Posted January 19, 2016)

From left, Joanie Gibbel and Henry H. Gibbel, chairman of the Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. and former chair of the Board of Trustees at Juniata College.
From left, Joanie Gibbel and Henry H. Gibbel, chairman of the Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. and former chair of the Board of Trustees at Juniata College.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Henry Gibbel, and his wife, Joanie, both of Lititz. Pa., have donated $500,000 to Juniata College to fund an artificial turf soccer field and stadium -- to be called the Henry H. and Joan R. Gibbel Stadium -- which will be part of a $3.5 million athletic facility the college is calling the Winton Hill Athletic Complex.

The athletic complex will include the soccer facility, six tennis courts, a locker room and office setup, a grandstand with enclosed press box, and stadium lights for the soccer and tennis locations.

"Soccer continues to gain on football as the fall sport of choice for men and the number of women who continue to flock to the game is increasing," says Greg Curley, athletic director. "Tennis is also growing in popularity again. The Winton Hill complex truly has the potential to transform Juniata's ability to meet our ambitious enrollment goals."

The complex will be located behind Nathan Hall at the intersection of College Avenue and Cold Springs Road. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2016.

"Juniata College is very appreciative of the continued leadership and philanthropy of the Gibbel family," says James A. Troha, president of Juniata. "Henry and Joanie have been passionate supporters of all of our students and this is yet another example of their desire to strengthen our campus community,"

"Juniata College is very appreciative of the continued leadership and philanthropy of the Gibbel family. Henry and Joanie have been passionate supporters of all of our students and this is yet another example of their desire to strengthen our campus community."

"What impressed me about President (James) Troha's plan for the soccer stadium is that he's willing to do it right," says Henry H. Gibbel, who retired as chair of the Juniata Board of Trustees in 2006 and is chairman of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. "Juniata really needs it. I think, given the choice between two great academic schools, an athlete will pick the school that has better facilities."

Gibbel and his wife, Joanie, have been faithful contributors to Juniata since Henry graduated in 1957. The Gibbels donated to the soccer project because almost all of their eight grandchildren have played soccer. Three have played in college and another played in college and professionally.

Dan Dubois, head coach for men's soccer, says that once the new soccer complex is finished, Juniata will have one of the best soccer facilites in the Landmark Conference. He adds that some competitors may have better fields or different stadium setups, but taken together, Juniata's soccer complex will help the program's recruiting efforts.

The college will move the Raffensperger Tennis Courts, currently behind Swigart Hall and also adjacent to Ellis Hall, to the new complex, which would free up construction space for the planned $4.9 million Studio and Integrated Media Arts Building, scheduled to start construction in summer 2016.

"The new facility will make Juniata a destination facility not only for recruits, but also for our opponents," says Scott McKenzie, soccer coordinator and associate athletic director. "In addition Juniata College will become attractive for high school soccer events and NCAA tournament opportunities."

Gibbel served as chair of the Juniata board of trustees from 2001 to 2006 and received the John C. Baker Award for Exemplary Service from the board in 2006. Gibbel has served as a trustee since 1973. In 1992 he received the Juniata College Alumni Service Award. In 2005, he received Juniata's Church College Service Award.

Gibbel and his wife, Joanie, sponsored in 2002 the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching. He also played a significant role in Juniata's most successful capital campaign, the Uncommon Outcomes Campaign, serving as co-chair of the Campaign for the Future. The Lititz resident was inducted into the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Gibbel is a past chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and secretary/treasurer and past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. He received the 1981 Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

He is a member of the Lititz Church of the Brethren, director of the Mutual Aid Association of the Church of the Brethren and past chairman and director emeritus for the Brethren Village Retirement & Health Care Community. He is a retired director Susquehanna Bancshares Inc.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.