March 6, 2006
It was a beautiful day for softball Monday afternoon as Lipscomb University's new softball field, Draper Diamond, was officially dedicated.
The new on-campus field was made possible by the generosity of the Draper family which includes Lassie Draper, her daughter, Mary Pat Draper Hartline, and her son-in-law, Craig Hartline. The field is also in memory of Bob Draper.
The Lady Bisons opened the field with a pair of shutout wins, beating Alabama A & M 5-0 in game one and 10-0 in the nightcap.
Leigh Little got the Lady Bisons first hit on the new field, a line drive double to left field in the first inning of the first game. Julia Davidson slammed the first home run and earned the first run batted in with a two-run blast to center field that brought home Little with the first run in the first inning.
Pitcher Sara Meek earned the first win and shutout for the Lady Bisons pitching a complete-game two-hitter.
The Draper family has been known by generations of Lipscomb students as suppliers of countless diamond engagement rings through their Draper Jewelry located across Granny White Pike from campus.
The new Draper Diamond will be just as enduring.
Dr. Steven Potts, director of athletics at Lipscomb, made opening remarks and unveiled a plaque honoring the Drapers that will be installed at the facility.
"We are here to honor one of those families that has truly played a significant role in the progress and development of Lipscomb University," said Potts. "Just across the street from this campus Bob and Lassie Draper have helped a countless number of Lipscomb University students in a variety of ways. Draper diamond engagement rings are the norm for students on this campus.
"Bob was a member of the Lipscomb Development Council, the Lipscomb Golden Circle and a charter member of the Bison Booster Club. In fact, I think the Bison Booster Club was founded on their patio. He was also a recipient of the Fessor Boyce Award and Alumnus of the Year."
For more than 50 years the Draper family has been known for its support of both Lipscomb University and Lipscomb athletics in a number of ways.
"I think it is certainly fitting that this beautiful softball facility will be forever known as Draper Diamond," said Potts.
Potts also thanked D. F. Chase Construction as well as Scott Saunders and William Tucker in the development office as well as the Board of Trustees. He added the board will also help add some additional improvements to the field in the near future.
First-year Lipscomb softball coach Kristin Peck presented Mrs. Draper with a purple team jersey embroidered with her name on the back on behalf of all the present and former players.
"You are already officially a part of our program, but now even more officially now we would like to welcome you as a part of our team," said Peck.
Craig Hartline responded for the Draper family. He stressed the need to continue to pass on the traditions of Lipscomb University set by founders David Lipscomb and James A. Harding.
"I think it is our responsibility that the younger generations know what those traditions mean and what they are all about so we can pass on that knowledge and those traditions for years to come," said Hartline. "This university has produced doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, preachers and captains of industry, but more importantly it has produced fine Christian men and women who continue to work in the Lord's church today.
"But this university has a tradition of athletics as well that was started by many who have gone on before us like Ken Dugan, Tom Hanvey and Fessor Boyce. But thankfully for us and this university there are others around who continue those traditions like Bob Mason , Buck Bradshaw, Jim Wood, Lee Marsh, Hilton Dean, Butch Stinson, Robbie Davis and Barry Brewer just to name a few who are still here. We have to make sure the younger generations know their stories, their dedication and their hard work.
"We are standing on a hill right now overlooking the glory of Lipscomb University, but we must never forget to stop, turn around and look back down and remember the names and faces of those people who helped build this beautiful view."
Mrs. Draper threw out the first pitch to Lipscomb catch Alshya Forsythe prior to the start of the first game which featured Alabama A & M.