Photo of softball ribbon cutting

With nearly 250 donors and fans in attendance, Ohio Northern University dedicated its new state-of-the-art softball facility – Durbin-Hileman Softball Stadium – on April 27, 2024. The stadium is named in recognition of lead donors and longtime University supporters Melinda (Durbin) Hileman, BA ’87, and David Hileman, BSBA ’86, BSPh ’86.

The stadium is home to the university’s women’s softball team. It features large dugouts, a new scoreboard with updated technology, padded backstop, upgraded press box, permanent bleachers with bucket seating, field lighting, and natural turf.

More than 167 families contributed to the project.

“We are so thankful for Melinda and David Hileman’s ongoing support of the University and our students,” said 鶹APP President Melissa Baumann, Ph.D. “The stadium is just one example of the tremendous impact they’ve had on 鶹APP. Their numerous contributions of both their knowledge and resources are providing the next generation of students with outstanding opportunities for growth and development both on the field and in the classroom.”

The Hilemans met on campus, where they were highly involved as leaders in student organizations, as letter winners, and as athletes in multiple sports. Melinda Hileman is a member of the 鶹APP Athletics Hall of Fame, and David Hileman is the 2022 recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Their gifts have been instrumental in establishing endowments for softball and women’s basketball. In addition, the Hilemans have been generous supporters of academics in their respective colleges and the Northern Fund.

Durbin-Hileman Stadium arguably gives the Polar Bears the best facility in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

“You don't see this caliber of stadium at a lot of Division III institutions,” said head coach Jackie (Mangola) Price, BS '12. “We’re blessed to have this amazing facility for our student athletes. They have worked extremely hard and deserve to have something like this to play on. We are forever indebted to the Hilemans and our other donors for making this possible.” 

Current members of the team are excited about the new facility and what it means for the program.

“My teammates and I are very grateful that we are the first to play on this field,” said junior pitcher Ashley Lenser. “This will elevate our program and help attract recruits from all over.”

Junior outfielder Callie Rosser added, “The new field gives us the opportunity to grow as players, and it provides a much better experience for our fans to come support us. It’s going to help 鶹APP Softball continue to dominate for years to come.”

Architects at Fanning Howey in Celina, Ohio, designed the facility. Helms Construction of Findlay was the lead contractor.