Pictured are Traci and Todd Saylor. Photo provided
Pictured are Traci and Todd Saylor. Photo provided
NORTH MANCHESTER – As a record-breaking split end for the Spartan football team in the mid-1980s, Todd Saylor knows how much alumni support can mean to student-athletes.

The Angola native is challenging others to help raise money for a new athletic stadium for Manchester University by matching gifts up to $100,000, according to a news release from MU.

“When you think about a journey, think about life, you think about the people who are important to you and how that molds you and what you’re going to become,” said Saylor, who was inducted into the M Club Athletic Hall of Fame at Manchester in 2015. He graduated in 1987.

Saylor, a business major at Manchester, is CEO of PayServ Systems, which developed Workforcethrive, a cloud-based payroll and human capital management service used nationally. He is also owner of Tom’s Donuts in Angola.

His success started at Manchester, he said, because of the people. “When you go to a school like Manchester, you’re in a moment when people are shaping you and you’re not even aware of it. My purpose with the donation is to fuel the journey for others, as was done for me and so many others,” he said.

He is married to Manchester alumna Traci Foltz Saylor, who graduated in 1986.

The Manchester Board of Trustees, at its May meeting, voted to move forward on the stadium, drawing on funds designated for capital improvements and adding to funds already raised from donor gifts. The fundraising continues, said President Dave McFadden, but Manchester cannot wait any longer to get the project started.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the stadium is 9 a.m. Saturday during homecoming.

In addition to the Saylor Press Box, the new stadium will feature artificial turf widely used in university and professional stadiums that allows teams to practice outside from early spring to late fall, relieving demand on the school’s physical education and recreation center.

The current football field is used only about 50 hours a year, while the new stadium will be used at least 1,500 hours a year, according to Rick Espeset, MU athletic director.

“You create a space that is used year-round and is used by all types of people. It’s not just football, it’s intramurals, it’s PE classes, it’s the community. … What I’ve seen when I go to other facilities, there’s always somebody doing something,” he said.

With artificial turf, the university will also save money on maintenance, which currently takes about 240 hours a year.

The facility, with a modern Olympic-sized outdoor track around the field’s perimeter, will allow Manchester to host major track and field events, elevating the university’s profile and attracting more visitors to the campus and North Manchester community.

The project includes seating for Spartan fans and visitors, a concession area and restrooms.

For more information, or to make a gift to the stadium, contact Melanie Harmon, vice president for advancement, at mbharmon@manchester.edu. You also can make a gift online at https://17632.thankyou4caring.org/giving.