Alumni Tributes

Saying Goodbye to a Game Changer

Ron Bainton

The Rutgers community mourns the loss of Ron Bainton, who passed away in December 2020 at the age of 80. After majoring in business administration at Rutgers College, Bainton RC’62 served for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and went on to a successful career in financial consulting. He is survived by his wife, Patricia, a former commander in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Bainton retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1992, then moved into private financial consulting work. Bainton flourished at Rutgers, he believes, because of the influence of three professors: the history department’s Richard McCormick and Warren Sussman, and then university president Mason Gross, who taught philosophy.

“They opened my horizons beyond what I thought possible,” Bainton said in 2006.

Ron and Pat Bainton have been steadfast supporters of the Scarlet Knights for many years, twice providing generous funding for Bainton Field, the home of Rutgers’ baseball program. “Ron was enormously passionate about Rutgers Athletics, especially baseball. Ron loved Scarlet Knight baseball,” said Pat Hobbs, director of intercollegiate athletics. “He was a kind, generous man with a great humility about him. He was warm, caring, and always saw the best in people. We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Pat, and loved ones.”

“Ron has been a very important part of Rutgers baseball for many years,” said Steve Owens, head baseball coach. “He has been a wonderful supporter, an incredible fan, and a close friend to all who have played and coached baseball here. I will miss our frequent conversations about the team, which Ron really enjoyed. His enthusiasm for our success was unmatched. We are extremely grateful for all that he has done and very proud that we can continue to play baseball on a field that bears his name. We would also like to send our deepest sympathy to his wife, Pat, during this very difficult time.”

“Over the years, Rutgers has been a darn good team,” Bainton said in 2006 after contributing $1.25 million to install a FieldTurf baseball playing field for the 2007 season. “What Pat and I are trying to do with this gift is give them the opportunity to get to the highest level of Division I baseball.”

At the time, the gift was the largest one-time cash gift by a living donor to Rutgers Athletics. The FieldTurf surface lets the team play and practice on the field year-round without the worries of field maintenance, permitting games in less-than-ideal weather and imposing fewer adjustments on student-athletes’ schedules.

In 2019, the Baintons came through again with funding for new FieldTurf, outfield fences and padding, and dugout upgrades. The donation also allowed the softball program to lay down FieldTurf.

The Baintons’ contributions were also an integral part of the fundraising efforts for the Fred Hill Training Complex for baseball and softball. The indoor 22,500-square-foot facility, which opened in 2017, is equipped with state-of-the-art pitching machines, six batting cages, bullpen mounds, and a full turf infield.

The Baintons belong to the Scarlet Society, an elite group of donors who have shown unparalleled commitment to Rutgers Athletics. The couple have long sponsored scholarships for Rutgers students, and were honored in 2015 with the prestigious 1869 Legacy Award, a recognition of their lifetime impact on Rutgers Athletics. At the 2020 Leadoff Banquet, the Baintons were similarly honored with the Game Changer Award for their unfailing generosity and support.