Providence College receives largest gift to women’s athletics in school history


PROVIDENCE — Providence College (PC) announced that it has received a $1 million donation to support its field hockey program, the largest gift to women’s athletics in school history. The donation is from William Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team and co-owner of the United Center in Chicago. His daughter, Hillary Wirtz ’01, played field hockey for the Friars throughout her years at PC, where she studied elementary and special education.
“I have such proud memories of watching Hillary and the team excel on and off the field,” Rocky Wirtz said. “The Wirtz family is pleased to be able to give back, to support the field hockey program, and to provide other student-athletes with the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”
Hillary Wirtz is now director of diversity and inclusion for her family’s company, Breakthru Beverage Group, based in Cicero, Illinois.
“It is in this spirit that I hope the donated funds can provide an opportunity for talented student-athletes to attend PC, compete at the highest level, and receive a quality education,” she said.
This donation establishes the Wirtz Family Fund for PC Field Hockey, which will support the team with travel, game costs, recruiting, professional development, supplies, summer tuition, and coaches’ salaries, among other uses. It also establishes the Wirtz Family Scholarship Fund, which, as part of the College’s permanent endowment, will enhance the scholarship allotment for the field hockey program in compliance with NCAA regulations.
In 2017, Wirtz donated what was then the largest gift in the history of the field hockey program and designated for player development. The gift came at a time when the College was renovating Lennon Family Field, with a new artificial surface, improved branding and padding, a new scoreboard, and an LED videoboard.
Rocky Wirtz, a graduate of Northwestern, is chair of the Chicago Blackhawks and co-chair of Breakthru Beverage Group. He is president of Wirtz Corp. and oversees commercial and residential real estate companies as well as banks in Illinois and Florida. He is co-chair of United Center Joint Venture, overseeing the facility that is home to the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls, and serves on the executive and audit committees of the National Hockey League.