sealPurdue News

January 23, 2003

Purdue dedicates new Colby Fitness Center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University dedicated its new state-of-the-art Colby Fitness Center today (Thursday, 1/23).

The center, located in the lower level of the Recreational Sports Center, was named in honor of Ken and Linda Colby of San Diego, Calif., who donated $1 million toward the $5 million project.

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The 19,000-square-foot facility features more than 190 pieces of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, of which nearly one-third is new. The free-weight equipment, including Olympic benches, dumbbells and bars has been completely upgraded.

Seventeen televisions were installed in the cardiovascular equipment zone along with a state-of-the art stereo system. Wearing AM/FM headsets, users can listen to eight TV stations or two radio stations. The fitness center also features central air conditioning and full elevator access to the entire RSC.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke says the Colby Fitness Center will make a significant contribution toward the quality of life for Purdue faculty, students and staff.

"Purdue has always been proud that its Recreational Sports Center was the first facility in the United States to be built solely for students' recreational needs." Jischke says. "Now, we not only have one of the first fitness centers for students, faculty and staff, we have one of the finest. The Purdue community will be grateful for years to come to Ken and Linda Colby for their generosity."

Carol Stickel, Recreational Sports Center director, says the new fitness center has received rave reviews from patrons.

"We are elated that the Colby Fitness Center, a real state-of-the-art fitness facility, allows us to meet the demands of Purdue students and the Purdue community," Stickel says. "More and more individuals are trying to live healthy lifestyles, and the Colby Fitness Center not only complements this goal, it also encourages healthy fitness and wellness habits that can be practiced well after students have left campus."

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Stickel says the center replaces several smaller workout rooms. The 11,000 square feet of space that has been freed up from the renovation has been earmarked for aerobic and exercise classes.

"I'm obviously very excited about it," Colby says. "It's a real honor to be associated with something of such high quality. I wanted my contribution to, in some way, be fun for the students at Purdue. I never dreamed it could help build a center that can provide health benefits in such an enjoyable way."

Purdue faculty, staff and students make more than 850,000 visits to the Recreational Sports Center each year. In addition to the cardiovascular and weight training equipment, the indoor facilities include basketball, racquetball, handball and wallyball courts, along with a sport court for indoor soccer and in-line hockey.

The Recreational Sports Center also features the new Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Opened in August 2001, it houses an eight-lane, 50-meter competitive pool, and a six-lane, 25-yard diving tank. The diving well has 1-meter, 3-meter, 5-meter, 7.5-meter and 10-meter platforms, as well as 1-meter and 3-meter springboards.

Ken Colby, who swam on a daily basis while at Purdue, graduated in 1973 with a degree in electrical engineering. He recently served as vice president of engineering for InterVU, the company which pioneered the use of video on the Internet. Colby is currently developing software independently while he pursues a lifelong dream of becoming a professional photographer. He was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y.

Linda Colby, an elementary special education teacher, is pursuing graduate studies in cross-cultural language and cognitive development at the University of California at San Diego. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Md. She and Ken met at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Maryland where Ken spent his junior and senior years of college as a co-op student.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Reid Ricciardi, (765) 496-2406,

Carol Stickel, (765) 494-3113,

Andy Milton, (765) 494-3124,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Related Web site:
Division of Recreational Sports


Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke (from left) and Ken Colby try out exercise equipment at the new state-of-the-art Colby Fitness Center today (Thursday, 1/23) following the dedication ceremony for the $5 million project. The center, named for Ken and Linda Colby of San Diego, Calif., is located in the lower level of the Recreational Sports Center. The Colbys donated $1 million toward the 19,000-square-foot facility, which features more than 190 pieces of cardiovascular and strength training equipment. (News Service Photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at


Rick Brown, a senior majoring in health and fitness who serves as a personal trainer and supervisor at the Colby Fitness Center, uses one of the new treadmills while chatting with Kelly Bonnar, assistant director for fitness and wellness. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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