Warhawk Almanac: The Construction and Dedication of Warhawk (Perkins) Stadium

This was written by Jacob Ober

On September 11, 1970, UW-Whitewater (then Wisconsin State University-Whitewater), a five-year-long process of planning and constructing a new stadium, was completed. The university dedicated the new stadium as Warhawk Stadium (now Perkins Stadium). The event was a sight to behold, even featuring one of the most famous American musical acts at the time, Neil Diamond. Campus christened the stadium with a football game the following day, a 35-10 Whitewater loss to Texas Trinity. Despite the loss, head coach Forrest Perkins, whom the stadium would later be re-named after, said, “This is the dream that all of us have waited for. I want to express my thanks to the thousands who have helped, and I know that they are proud and will remember this day for many, many years.”[1]

Warhawk (Perkins) Stadium under construction, July 17, 1970. [2]

The planning process began on November 2, 1965, when the Whitewater State University Student Council passed a resolution to support a fundraising drive for a new stadium. The official stadium fund drive began on October 1, 1966, led by drive chairman Forrest Perkins, also the head coach of the football team at the time. After three years of planning and fundraising, the stadium received bids totaling 1.2 million US dollars on May 8, 1969, and the Building Commission gave final approval on May 12 of that same year. [3] Construction was completed in Summer 1970, and campus held the dedication on September 11 of that fall semester. The new stadium was to seat up to 14,000 fans and feature a press box. 

A completed Warhawk (Perkins) Stadium, 1970. [4]

The stadium dedication ceremony was held on September 10, 1970, and featured music artist Neil Diamond. Diamond, a New York native, had been on the scene throughout the 1960s, having achieved top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 by 1970 that included “Cherry, Cherry,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Holly Holy.”[5] The dedication concert was a big hit, as 7,000 people turned out to see the budding star perform. According to those who attended, Diamond “did as much moving around on stage as any musical performer ever did” and “showed all the charisma necessary to hold the attention of such a large gathering under anything but ideal conditions.”[6]

  [1] “Costley is ‘Costly’ in Warhawk 35-10 Dedication Game Loss to Texas Trinity,” The Whitewater Register, September 10, 1970.

[2] UW-Whitewater Archives and Area Research Center.

[3] “Plans for Stadium Started in 1965,” The Whitewater Register, September 10, 1970.

[4] UW-Whitewater Archives and Area Research Center.

[5] “Neil Diamond Chart History,” Billboard Hot 100, accessed November 2, 2023.

[6] Dale Reich, “Stadium Dedication Features Diamond,” The Royal Purple, September 15, 1970.

This entry was posted in Archives & ARC. Bookmark the permalink.