Nov. 1, 2011
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Fans will notice an addition to Vanderbilt Stadium's Gate 2--the facility's main entrance from Vandyville at the corner of Natchez Trace and Jess Neely Drive. The William R. Frist Family Gate has been dedicated in honor of a generous donation from William R. (Billy) and Jennifer Frist to the National Commodore Club's stadium renovation fund.
Billy Frist and Mark Carter
Jennifer holds a computer science degree from Vanderbilt's School of Engineering. Billy, a Nashville native and former state champion wrestler at Montgomery Bell Academy, did not attend Vanderbilt, but grew up cheering for the Commodores thanks to his grandfather, Thomas Sr., and father, Thomas Jr.--both Vanderbilt alumni.
"My grandfather was a great supporter of Vanderbilt athletics right up until he died," Billy said. "Going to games with him is a great memory of growing up."
A plaque is planned at street level in honor of Thomas Sr., who graduated from Vanderbilt's School of Medicine in 1933 and passed away in 1998 at the age of 87.
After living away from Nashville for years, Billy and Jennifer moved back in 2001 and have been regulars at Commodore events. The couple recently completed a pledge that was initiated after the Commodores' 2008 victory in the Music City Bowl.
"Football expenses are tremendous," Frist noted. "In the SEC it's an especially costly endeavor. But it's a process that keeps moving forward, and it's important that we keep up to stay competitive."
-- Commodore Nation Archives --
|"Every school has a core group of supporters to help champion their programs, and Billy and Jennifer are definitely two of our champions. This year has the potential to be a great year for Vanderbilt Athletics, and the investment Billy and Jennifer have made is a big reason why. I am proud to see the family honored with the naming of the William R. Frist Family Gate."
-- NCC Executive Director Mark Carter