Thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Kathleen Ruehlow ’72, MSOE Regent, MSOE is able to begin phase one of a multi-year plan to expand co-curricular offerings that include an expansion of arts programming and women’s sports.  

In phase one, new offices for coaches and new women’s locker rooms are being built in the Kern Center and Viets Field. This allows the Raiders athletics program to add five new women’s teams to its roster: lacrosse, hockey, swim, golf and bowling, and to expand women’s track and field offerings.  

Recruiting and retaining a diverse student population and enhancing the overall collegiate experience are key commitments in MSOE’s strategic plan and one of the main reasons the university continues to invest in this area. The number of women’s varsity athletes will increase by 130, more than doubling the current number of women who participate in varsity sports. 

“This plan is a win-win on many levels for MSOE. It will support a well-rounded university experience for all students, while significantly increasing the gender diversity of our current student population and total enrollment,” said Tim Valley, vice president of student services and enrollment management.  

Junior Nicole Robb has two great passions: biomedical engineering and playing sports. She said yes to coming to MSOE after realizing she could pursue both.  

“Each day I am grateful for that call from Coach Zersen, because I get to play my favorite sport all while pursuing a career I am passionate about. I have been playing sports my whole life. I am a swimmer and started playing soccer at an early age,” said Robb. “I am extremely excited for how our women’s soccer team will prosper with our own dedicated space on Viets Field. Being able to get ready for practices and games in our own locker room, as well as celebrate wins and reflect on losses together will only help us grow together as a team.”  

In addition to those spaces, MSOE’s student band will also get its own newly renovated and first-ever dedicated space on campus to practice and perform. For junior pianist Mackenzie Beck, hearing the news was music to her ears.  

“I am very excited about getting our own space,” said Beck. “Playing with the jazz and concert band gives me and my fellow bandmates an opportunity to take a break from our studies and use our talents as an outlet to decompress.”  

Fellow band member and trumpet player Zoe Rush agrees. “This is my second year in the MSOE band program. I’m very excited for an area on campus to play without disturbing my roommate.”  

Ruehlow wanted to make the philanthropic commitment to MSOE because of its passion for an outstanding student experience and commitment to diversity.  

“Collegiate athletics and extra-curricular activities provide talented students with the unique opportunity to develop lifelong relationships and experience a balanced, well-rounded education. No matter their major, they all minor in time management—a life skill all young professionals need. I’m honored to have the opportunity to support this and could not be prouder of MSOE’s commitment to athletics and its band,” said Ruehlow.  

As for Robb, the perks of having a new locker room will be wonderful, but the additional investment to strengthen the representation of women and minorities attending MSOE is what really matters to her.  

“Every female at MSOE should have the opportunity to find their group on campus that makes them feel welcomed, supported and loved. I am grateful to Kathy Ruehlow and to MSOE for taking the necessary steps to support female athletes and expand opportunities for women on campus.”  

Phase one of the project is scheduled to be completed during the 2021-2022 academic year.