Feb. 6, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - A $100,000 gift to Miami University from Carol Peery Ayers (1977) and Randy Ayers (1978) has established endowments supporting study abroad experiences for Spanish majors and scholarship support for the men's basketball program.
The Carol Peery Ayers and Randy Ayers Men's Basketball Scholarship will be awarded to one or more student-athletes from Miami's varsity men's basketball program. The Washington R. Vázquez Scholarship Award will be awarded to Spanish majors for study in Spanish-speaking countries.
"We met at Miami, and we both share a deep loyalty to Miami," Carol said. "Randy and I decided to give back to the departments that made us who we are and helped us succeed as people. We wanted to pay those experiences forward so future students will have the same types of life-changing opportunities that we enjoyed."
A 1991 inductee into the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame, Randy Ayers was a four-year men's basketball letterwinner (1975-78) who helped lead Miami to the 1978 Mid-American Conference Championship and a memorable NCAA Tournament upset of defending national champion Marquette University. Presently the top assistant coach for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, Ayers has served head coaching stints with both Ohio State University and the Philadelphia 76ers. The 1991 Associated Press National College Basketball Coach of the Year, Ayers received his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Miami.
"Randy has been a remarkable ambassador for Miami University and our men's basketball program at the highest levels of intercollegiate and professional basketball," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Bates. "We are grateful that Carol and Randy have so generously invested in Miami Basketball, and it is fitting that the Ayers name will not only be forever associated with Miami men's basketball but also that its legacy will be carried on by generations of Miami student-athletes."
Carol Peery Ayers, who studied abroad in both Costa Rica and Italy as an undergraduate, earned Spanish degrees from Miami's College of Arts and Science and School of Education, Health and Society. She was also a charter member of Miami's Lambda Mu Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Carol has taught Spanish for more than 30 years and currently serves as a Spanish teacher and upper school diversity coordinator at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa.
The Washington R. Vázquez Scholarship Award was created out of Carol's appreciation for her experience in Miami's Spanish and Portuguese Department and in honor of a former professor. Dr. Vázquez, also a playwright, fused Carol's loves for both Spanish and acting into a co-curricular theatre group called La Máscara, which remains among her fondest Miami memories.
"This award will make it possible for Spanish majors to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Hispanic culture by giving them the invaluable opportunity of immersing themselves in language and culture in a Spanish-speaking country," said Dr. Robert DiDonato, chair of Miami's Spanish and Portuguese Department. "This experience will change their lives in a way they never imagined. It will last a lifetime!"
The gift supports the $500-million Miami University Campaign For Love and Honor, which, as the university's most successful fund-raising campaign, has raised more than $433 million in support of Miami's priority needs.