It’s not every day that a public college acquires a golf resort, let alone one that includes a Donald Ross design and ties to the LPGA.
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey closed recently on a $20 million deal for Seaview Resort, which features a historic hotel and The Bay Course – home of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
What may seem a peculiar acquisition for a college actually makes plenty of sense, officials say.
Stockton, located in Pomona, about 20 miles from Atlantic City, long had sought a hotel conference center – even considered building one – for use with its hospitality and tourism management studies degree. With an enrollment of about 7,500 students, the college also plans to phase student housing into the resort’s hotel, which includes almost 300 rooms.
Ownership of Seaview, in nearby Galloway Township, offers Stockton the option to expand its curriculum as well; new offerings under consideration include studies such as golf course management, turf management, conference center management and classes in the culinary arts.
“With Seaview, it opened up another whole realm of ideas,” said Matt Altier, Stockton’s vice president of administration and finance. He also hopes the acquisition, financed from the college’s capital investment fund, will lead to student internships at Dolce Hotels and Resorts, and Troon Golf, which manage the hotel and golf course, respectively. (The resort includes another layout, the Pines Course, which is owned by Marriott Corp. and leased to the college.)
Stockton competes intercollegiately in Division III, but does not have a varsity men’s or women’s golf team. Discussions about adding golf teams already are taking place.
“We used to have one years ago, but now we can bring one back,” Altier said.
This year, the Ross-designed Bay Course hosted the ShopRite LPGA Classic, which returned to Seaview after a three-year hiatus. In the past, Stockton has provided volunteers for the tournament, and the college hopes to remain involved with the event. ShopRite has signed a five-year contract to remain on the LPGA calendar.
“We have been involved with (Seaview) as long as the college has been in existence here,” said Tim Kelly, Stockton’s PR director. “The students have benefited from the ShopRite LPGA scholarship fund contributions that they’ve made to our foundation, so we’ve always been in partnership with Seaview. We’ve always loved the venue.”