A historic gift for a historic team

Jeff Kinkead ’84 and his wife, Mimi, make the single-largest philanthropic gift in history of Quinnipiac athletics

April 26, 2023

President Olian, Jeff and Mimi Kinkead, among athletics leaders.

Forty years ago, Jeff Kinkead ’84 skated off the ice for the last time in his Quinnipiac hockey sweater. It was a proud moment for Kinkead, who came to Hamden to earn a marketing degree and some shifts on a Division II roster.

Kinkead checked both boxes, just like he used to check opponents on the ice.

But on this night, struck by the Frozen Four glow of Quinnipiac’s 5-2 victory over Michigan in the national semifinals on April 6, Kinkead began his drive home from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

For months now, he and his wife, Mimi, had discussed making a gift to support both the men’s and women’s ice hockey programs. After going a few miles down the road, Kinkead knew he wanted to start with reimagining the men’s ice hockey locker room.

The Kinkeads were ready to make the single-largest philanthropic gift in the history of Quinnipiac athletics — and formally name the Rand and Nikki Pecknold Locker Room.

“I was sitting in the front seat, kind of quiet, and I realized, ‘Now is the time.’ I wanted to do it before the big game,” said Kinkead, a former member of the Board of Trustees at Quinnipiac, and the president and CEO of Advanced Systems Resources, a leader in the mobile technology marketplace.

With a showdown looming against Minnesota in the national championship game, Kinkead was filled with anticipation, just like so many other Quinnipiac fans. He had total confidence in Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold and the Bobcats.  

“I knew I wanted to name the facility after Rand and his wife, Nikki,” Kinkead said. “Without Rand, there would not have been a big night.”

On so many levels.

As history and cheers fell from the hockey heavens April 8, the Bobcats celebrated their first NCAA Division I national championship with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota 10 seconds into overtime.

Kinkead celebrated, too, of course.

“Being at the games in Tampa and being on the ice with the guys after the game was certainly a huge thrill,” said Kinkead, who has become close with Pecknold over the last decade. “It was one of those moments where you get a big lump in your throat because you know what it was like in the early days compared to where they are now at the top of collegiate hockey.”

Pecknold said the Kinkeads’ substantial gift will help Quinnipiac compete for more national championships in the years ahead.

“On behalf of Quinnipiac hockey and the entire athletic department, I’d like to thank Jeff, Mimi and the entire Kinkead family for their incredibly generous gift,” Pecknold said. “This donation will help us in our pursuit to upgrade our facilities, which is an important initiative as we aim to provide a first-class, student-athlete experience that competes with the best schools in the country. We’re grateful for the support of the entire Kinkead family. This gift will allow us to compete for NCAA national championships for the foreseeable future.”

Greg Amodio, director of athletics, said the Kinkeads’ gift will also help Quinnipiac provide a championship-level student-athlete experience and culture.

“We’re incredibly thankful to Jeff, Mimi and the entire Kinkead family for their generous donation,” Amodio said. “This gift will help us continue to upgrade our facilities at M&T Bank Arena, which is an important initiative as we continue to compete for championships.

“We strive every day to provide a student-athlete experience that rivals the best schools in the country,” he added. “Having the necessary resources to create an environment that will allow us to develop our athletes, create a winning culture, and attract elite recruits is vital to our continued success.”

Women’s ice hockey head coach Cassie Turner agreed.

“Our entire Quinnipiac hockey family is very appreciative of this generous gift from Jeff and Mimi Kinkead,” she said. “This donation will help us continue to provide the best experience possible to our student-athletes and will ensure that our facilities remain among the best in all of college hockey. This will ultimately assist us in attracting elite recruits to Quinnipiac University and will allow us to continue to compete for championships moving forward.”

Looking back, Kinkead said it was transformative — for the program and the university — to hop over the boards from Division II to the rigors of Division I. He said the foresight of John Lahey, the former Quinnipiac president, changed momentum and a mindset.

“John Lahey made a tremendous commitment, on behalf of the university, to bring this program to Division I with the investment in the [M&T Bank Arena] and everything else,” Kinkead said. “Without that decision, this national championship never would’ve happened.”

Beyond his involvement with hockey, Kinkead has also served as a mentor and guest speaker in the School of Business. In 2019, Kinkead attended the inaugural speaker series for the now M&T Bank Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my career, so it was fun to speak with students and learn about some of the projects they were working on,” Kinkead said. “I developed relationships with maybe 10 or so students and mentored them as they were getting ready to graduate and start their careers. That was the probably the most fulfilling thing to come out of my time as a trustee.”

As benefactors, the most fulfilling thing for the Kinkeads will be the impact of this significant gift.

President Judy Olian expressed deep gratitude to the Kinkead family, and its generous contribution supporting the future of men’s and women’s ice hockey at Quinnipiac.

“The extraordinary generosity of Jeff and Mimi Kinkead is a beautiful acknowledgement of the national ice hockey powerhouse that our ice hockey program has become,” said Olian. “This gift will ensure that our program continues to have the facilities available to achieve success, on and off the ice, for years to come.”

Todd Sloan, vice president for development and alumni affairs, celebrated the selflessness and ongoing partnership with the Kinkead family.

“It has been especially meaningful to work with the Kinkeads on this gift," he said. "In the true spirit of philanthropy, Jeff and Mimi have chosen to forego naming this after themselves or their family, but rather after a living Quinnipiac icon, which will resonate for generations to come.”

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now