Garth Pleasant Arena – Welcome Home
Three years of fundraising, planning, designs and prayers have come together. Trucks have moved dirt, foundations are laid, the steel is up and the floor is installed. Three years of blood, sweat and tears has come to fruition. We are grateful to everyone who has made this dream come true.
THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US!
Meet Bill Fox
Auto dealer Bill Fox decided long ago to share his success with others, especially the community he has called home for almost 50 years.
Opening as Bill Fox Chevrolet in 1967, Fox’s dealership flourished and grew alongside its home city of Rochester Hills. Fox and his wife, Shirlee, always believed in contributing to their community, which included supporting Leader Dogs for the Blind, Crittenton Hospital, Rochester Rotary Club and, of course, Rochester College.
The Fox’s most notable and recent gift to RC has been to kickstart fundraising for the Garth Pleasant Arena with a matching gift of $1 million. This significant gift is a remarkable indication of a long-term friendship between two men.
Fox’s first affiliation with Rochester College (then Michigan Christian
College) came when Coach Garth Pleasant asked him to serve on the college’s athletic advisory committee. The dealer and coach become fast friends, with Fox even asking Pleasant to conduct his wedding.
“He’s always been a great guy, great coach,” Fox said. “You can never say anything bad about Garth. He’s always been a super coach and super person. We became close friends over the years.”
The two men share a desire to influence their community in positive ways, especially to build good character and life-transforming faith in young people. “Some of the boys Garth has taken have been rough around the edges and he helped them become really good people and good men,” Fox said. “I totally admire that. I graduated from a high school whose motto was ‘builders of boys and makers of men,’ and I always think of Garth when I think of that
motto because that is what he has done throughout his career.”
While Pleasant has been the direct, daily influence on young people, he says he couldn’t have done it without support from people like Fox. “Bill has been a great giver to the community and other worthy causes. I think Bill appreciates what Rochester College has done for the community and how it has helped the lives of young people,” Pleasant said. “His gift is a way for him to say thank you to the college for the way it has affected the lives of young
Fox says he has always had a passion for education and he wants to help others teach and support the next generation.
As he became more acquainted with RC over the years, he saw the effect not having a gymnasium was having on the small college community. “I see a real need for a gym. A college of that caliber, with its quality sports teams — not having its own gym was a real turn-off. I thought this is something that has to happen,” he said.
Fox believes his gift alongside the contributions of hundreds of others will benefit not only the college, but the community as well. “I’m in full support of building this gym for Garth, the college and the community. I hope we’re successful.”
Meet Mark Ide
Mark Ide credits his experience at Michigan Christian College with giving him a solid foundation on which to build his life—both professionally and of personally.
A 1971 graduate, Ide’s company, Ide Management Group, owns and manages skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout the United States. With more than 2,000 employees, the company has an annual revenue of $150 million and facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Along with his wife Missy, Ide has pledged $1 million for the college’s new arena, which is the largest alumni gift in the college’s history.
Ide said, “The college aided me in my business success, and I am happy I am in a position to help the school improve.”
Looking back at his time at the college, Ide points out the relationships he built with teachers, such as Sue Reich, Don Shull, Larry Jurney and Bill Shinsky, who all became not just teachers but friends as well.
Ide remembers an encounter with Shinsky. “Once Coach Shinsky made a statement that the totem pole belongs on the island and will never be moved. The next morning it was on his front lawn. I don’t know how it got there,” he laughed. This is, of course, the same totem pole that was refurbished in 2011 by a group of alumni and will be prominently displayed in the lobby of the new arena.
These relationships and the educational foundation gave Ide a “solid academic base and helped him gain confidence,” he said.
Ide went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in social work from St. Louis University, and an MBA from the University of Tennessee.
Known as an entrepreneur, consultant, leader, coach and acquisition specialist, Ide spent 15 years working for non-profit organizations. During this time, he developed a passion to improve the care and rehab services offered to seniors.
His company turns around struggling facilities using a team of healthcare professionals with years of experience in intermediate, skilled and assisted living facilities. Ide Management provides consulting, counseling, training and management to each facility on a consistent basis to improve the overall operation of each facility.
“We adhere to a philosophy of ‘residents first,’ ” Ide said. “This philosophy is the foundation of the company and continues to make our facilities leaders in the healthcare industry.”
Ide also manages a not-for-profit company, Gone Fishin’, which assists employees dealing with hardships. In his free time, he loves to travel with his wife and spend time with his children and granddaughter. He can be found fishing in Canada, hunting at his cabin in Tennessee, golfing in Florida and sitting by the lake in Carolina.
In addition to his financial support of the college, Ide devotes his time serving on the RC Board of Trustees. “I want to see the school gain more recognition as a Christian educational institute we can all be proud of,” he said.
A Story of Friendship: Bill Fox & Garth Pleasant
June 11 – Oct. 21