SE: Basketball Training Facility Renamed to Honor Ice Family


Carl and Mary Ice gathered with some of their closest K-State friends and family to celebrate a very special occasion on Friday evening.

K-State Athletics dedicated its basketball training facility to the passionate K-State family, permanently renaming the building the Ice Family Basketball Center. 

“It’s difficult to describe our emotion; we’re overwhelmed,” said Carl, a 1979 K-State graduate in Industrial Engineering. “K-State has been an important place to us, it always has been. We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help, and never really expected that anything would happen to us directly. It was always just about what was best for Kansas State and for the athletics department. So for them to respond in kind and to recognize us like this it’s overwhelming. We’re very touched. These will be memories that we’ll cherish forever.”

Over the years, Carl, the Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, and his wife, Mary, have made a lasting impact through their generous giving to both Kansas State University and K-State Athletics.

“Its’ surreal, that’s very much the way we’re feeling,” said Mary, who graduated from K-State in 1980 with her bachelor’s degree from the College of Human Ecology before continuing on to receive her Master’s from the College of Education in 1988. “When this was first announced, when we first met with John (Currie) and discussed this opportunity, it was just a ‘wow’ moment. Knowing that we were being so appreciated for the things we’ve been able to do to help, it’s amazing.”

Both Kansas natives, Carl from Topeka and Mary from Baxter Springs, the couple made a significant capital gift to the funding of the Ice Family Basketball Center before it opened in 2012, kicking off an exciting era for K-State Athletics. Since then, the Ice family stayed involved as they gave the first leadership gift to the West Stadium Center and made one of the largest commitments to the brand new Vanier Family Football Complex. The Ices have also made private gifts over the years and provide the Carl and Mary Ice Football Scholarship. 

“They’re a great family who we’ve really enjoyed getting to know,” said K-State women’s basketball head coach Jeff Mittie. “They’re such generous people who are so passionate about Kansas State and are passionate about impacting young people, and that’s really cool. They’ve done so many things across our campus to benefit so many people, so I’m very excited that our facility is named after them.”

Along with the lasting impact they have made on K-State Athletics, the Ice family has also made an impact on the K-State campus as they made the first commitment to the College of Engineering Phase IV building expansion and have also made leadership gifts to scholarships in Engineering, Human Ecology and Journalism, as well as an emergency student fund to help K-State students in need.

“I think that the thing that makes them special is that they’re just real people,” said K-State head coach Bruce Weber about the Ice family. “They’re not people who you can’t approach; they’re real people. They’re special. They’re special to not only this athletics department, but they’re special to all of campus. Their generosity and their friendship to our program and the university is greatly appreciated.”

Though Carl and Mary are first-generation K-Staters, they have kept K-State in their family as their son, Marshall, and daughter-in-law, Megan, both graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Marshall earned his degree in Mass Communications, while Megan graduated in Sociology. Their daughter, Karen, is working on her Master’s through the K-State Distance Learning Program.

The couple laughed as they explained nearly three-fourths of their family photos are taken at K-State events and almost every story they tell when they gather together has something to do with their alma mater.

They’re proud K-Staters, and that shows in everything they do.

“What’s tremendous are the great advances that Kansas State and the athletics department have made,” said Carl. “We have facilities that are world-class that fit with our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics program with our teams competing for championships. These are all the kind of facilities you need to be able to do that.

“So for this to all happen, fundamentally, it’s changed the way that Kansas State people think about themselves,” he continued. “Then at the same time, we’ve kept that great family atmosphere. When you go to a Kansas State game, we’re rocking, and everybody’s engaged. K-State is a place like no other.”

After speeches from Weber, women’s basketball junior guard Kelly Thomson and K-State Athletics Director John Currie at the dedication ceremony on Friday evening, K-State President Kirk Schulz led all in attendance to a toast.

“To one of the great K-State families. We appreciate everything that you continue to do for our entire university family. To the Ice family!” the university’s president said as he raised his glass.

“To the Ice family!” everyone in attendance echoed in unison before heading outside to, for the first time, view the Ice family’s name in big, bright letters lit up on the building – a special moment for both Carl and Mary.

“They are very special people, a very special family,” said Currie with a smile as he stood outside the newly dedicated Ice Family Basketball Center. “They’re an incredible family who has done some incredible things. They have really given a lot of hope to K-Staters as we continue to move forward.”


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