With the help of the Santa Barbara-based Hutton Foundation, California Lutheran University has — literally — leveled the playing field for women’s athletics and will dedicate its new softball stadium next month.

Hutton Field, located next to George “Sparky” Anderson Baseball Field, is the latest addition to the North Campus athletics complex. The new venue replaces Gilbello Field, which was located behind residence halls on the other side of the Thousand Oaks campus. The new field provides a level playing surface and pristine outfield for the Regals.

The dedication begins at 3 p.m. March 6 with food, music and a team practice. At 4 p.m., donor Tom Parker, president of the Hutton Foundation, former softball standout and current assistant coach Prudence Kjontvedt and others will make brief speeches and CLU pastor Melissa Maxwell-Doherty will bless the field. Parker will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and the CLU softball team will scrimmage at 4:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public.

Parker and his wife, Susan, live in Santa Barbara and run the Hutton Foundation, a philanthropic organization started in 1984 at the request of Susan’s aunt, Betty Hutton. The foundation provided $500,000 for the softball field.

The efforts of the Parkers, both of whom are CLU alumni, to provide funds for nonprofit organizations and motivate others to do the same earned the Hutton Foundation the Santa Barbara County Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2002. The couple has also made personal contributions to educational institutions and projects throughout Southern California, including a basketball court at CLU’s Mogen Hall that bears their names.

Karin Grennan is California Lutheran University‘s media relations coordinator.