Mason ‘throws its hat’ into national program to help wounded soldiers

Operation Hat Trick co-branded hats are currently on sale in the JC bookstore. (Jake McLernon)
Operation Hat Trick co-branded hats are currently on sale in the JC bookstore. (Jake McLernon)

Hats are being sold in the Johnson Center bookstore to support wounded soldiers and Mason Athletics. Royalties will be split for the hats as part of a national program originally conceived at the University of New Hampshire.

Mason has announced its participation in Operation Hat Trick (OHT), a program which generates funds to support university athletic programs and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) General Post Fund. Funds are raised by splitting royalties earned from the sale of 47’ Brand baseball caps bearing the trademark of the university and OHT brands.

Ten percent of proceeds will go to athletics and another 10 percent will be donated to the VA General Post Fund. Mason community members interested in supporting OHT can purchase a hat in the university bookstore for $19.98.

“We just got the hats in last week,” said David Atkins, Mason’s director of contract management and licensing.

Atkins said the original order was placed for two hat designs (green and gold and camouflage) and 72 hats were ordered for each design. He expects the bookstore will replenish with more hats if the demand is there.

Jennifer Connors, director of military services at Mason, said participation in the program is an exciting and important show of support for all who serve.

“We are very excited and pleased Mason is among the list of […] universities nationwide participating in Operation Hat Trick,” said Connors. “Purchasing a hat shows our school spirit and more importantly, our commitment and appreciation to those that serve.”

OHT is partnered with the Collegiate Licensing Co., which handles product licensing for the institutions participating in the program.

The OHT program began at the University of New Hampshire in the fall of 2007 when Senior Associate Athletic Director Dot Sheehan heard on a radio broadcast that wounded soldiers with head injuries wanted hats to cover their burns and scars.

Originally, the university developed a partnership where for every two hats sold, a third was donated to veteran’s hospitals around the country.

The current national program is dedicated to the memory of Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two Navy SEALS who died in Iraq in 2008. Koch is the son of a UNH faculty member. More than 26 universities have joined the national program since it began.

Mason is also one of four Virginia and D.C. area schools currently participating in the initiative, joined by Georgetown, George Washington University, and Old Dominion.

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