Board statement details Sebo’s generosity

The Salem school board issued the following press release regarding the naming rights agreement of Reilly Stadium with local philanthropist Bob Sebo:

In recognition of his ongoing and significant financial support of the Salem City Schools, the Board of Education voted tonight to name the high school stadium “Sebo Stadium.”

In announcing this honor, the board members praised Bob and Linda Sebo’s support and generosity to the school district which he has credited with giving him his start as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He has been a faithful donor to the district’s athletic teams, as well as the band, the choir and musicals, the Academic Challenge team and the current library renovation project.

When the district asked the community for support to upgrade the stadium and install artificial turf and an all-weather collegiate level track, Bob and Linda Sebo were significant contributors. However, the installation of the turf and new track uncovered other costly repairs that needed to be made, particularly to deal with damage from drainage issues. The district was also looking for a solution to the lack of parking around the stadium and the need for more space in the press box. In conversation with Bob Sebo, he pledged his willingness to fund these improvements and he and the board discussed a naming rights agreement. This agreement acknowledges his financial support of the district and gives a clear understanding of the naming rights for the stadium. Importantly, it allowed the school district to make these needed repairs and improvements immediately and with donated dollars.

These renovations include major repairs to the drainage system, replacement of the restraining wall and railing, upgrades to the press box, the addition of a visitor press box and the purchase of property adjoining the stadium which will allow for additional parking. These improvements have a financial benefit to the community as well because they enable the district to host state playoff games for both football and soccer, and invitational and district track meets. These events bring visitors to our local businesses, hotels and restaurants.

The stadium is a central part of the school district’s facilities. It is home to the football team, the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, and track and field meets. Baseball and softball teams practice there, as do local youth sports teams. It plays host to the “Pride of Salem” marching band and the annual Salem Festival of Bands. Last fall Reilly Elementary created an after school running program for our elementary students and of course, it also provides a safe and comfortable walking track for community members.

A 1954 graduate of Salem High School, Bob Sebo was a member of the varsity football team, varsity track team, JV basketball team and a four-year member of the concert band. He served on student council and was Junior Class President.

In 1974, he was a founder of Paychex, a payroll service company. The company began with four employees and today has 12,000 employees and does over three billion dollars of business in almost every state. Bob returned to Salem in 1999 and has been devoted to supporting his hometown, including $300,000 in scholarships donated to the Salem Alumni Association. In addition to his many national awards, he was recognized as the Salem Citizen of the Year in 2004, The Salem Storybook Museum Person of the Year in 2009, and was inducted into The Salem High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. He and his wife Linda make their permanent residence in Salem.

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