Arena named “Renaissance Coliseum”
By Abby Rhodes
October 15, 2010
For months we’ve been calling it simply, “the arena,” a name far too modest for this magnificent state-of-the-art facility. Today, the product of the biggest construction project in Bradley’s history officially became the Renaissance Coliseum.
President Joanne Glasser officially named the $50 million facility during a dedication ceremony held in conjunction with Homecoming. Glasser welcomed alumni, students, faculty, and friends to the new icon on the Hilltop, and paid special tribute to the donors that made the new arena possible.
“We came to you some years ago with a bold vision and you embraced it. You encouraged us to move forward and you backed us with your dollars and your good sense. This facility is here because of you, because you believe in Bradley University and support its mission,” said Glasser.
The ceremony was bittersweet for alums and Peoria natives who hold hundreds of fond memories from the arena’s predecessor, the Robertson Memorial Field House. Erected on the very ground where that storied structure stood for 60 years, the Renaissance Coliseum is at once a modern marvel and humble tribute to the Field House.
Video: Field House History (played during dedication ceremony)
“It’s an emotional day, but I’m very proud of this venue, and I’m thankful that Bradley has incorporated various elements from the Field House,” said Corky Robertson, son of legendary Bradley coach and Field House namesake A.J. Robertson. “My dad would have loved this place.”
The dedication was also a call to action to Bradley’s student athletes, who are now armed with the best facilities, the latest equipment, and the strongest support of any collegiate program across the nation.
“The key that opens the door to this facility today opens the door of opportunity to everyone who wears Bradley across his or her chest,” said Bradley Board of Trustees Chairman Gerry Shaheen. “That key says you can now compete for conference championships, for national championships. No university has facilities to better prepare their athletes than Bradley does.”
Junior track star Kourtnie Janson addressed the crowd on behalf of her fellow student athletes, noting the role the magnificent facility is already playing in forging stronger relationships and deeper pride.
“The Renaissance Coliseum is nothing short of revolutionary,” said Janson. “When we walk through here, we do so with our heads held high and with a renewed sense of pride and team spirit.”
Two and a half years ago, Bradley bid farewell to the Field House with a ceremonial last basket. Today, the tradition of excellence continued, as senior guard Raisa Taylor topped off the event with a first basket in the Renaissance Coliseum.
Tomorrow, the Renaissance Coliseum hosts late-night television sensation Jay Leno in a Homecoming headline performance.