MU’s athletic department announced Tuesday that it received a $10 million gift to renovate facilities and fund student scholarships. The gift came from the Kansas City Sports Trust, a group of anonymous donors whose purpose is to support MU’s athletic program.
“This is a great day for the Tigers,” Mike Alden, MU director of athletics, said at a press conference in the Reynolds Alumni Center.
More than 100 people, including MU and athletic department officials, coaches and faculty members, attended the conference.
The gift boosts the amount the athletic department has brought in as part of its fund-raising campaign to $103.6 million, surpassing its initial goal of $102 million. The Champions for Life campaign is part of MU’s larger For All We Call Mizzou effort, which aims to raise $600 million by the end of 2005.
Alden said that $8 million to $9 million will be used to improve, expand and renovate the Tom Taylor Building, which houses athletic facilities, in the southwest part of campus across Providence Road from Memorial Stadium. The building serves all of MU’s 475 student athletes.
The renovation, scheduled to begin next year, will improve soccer, softball and baseball locker room facilities, expand the dining hall and provide better offices, Alden said. Construction is expected to be completed in 2006.
The project will also enhance the weight room, the academic center and the football locker room.
The rest of the gift will be used to fund scholarships.
“We were really excited about the gift. It’s going to help all of the athletic programs here,” said MU gymnastics coach Rob Drass. “That money will be able to be put into services that will attract better recruits.”
Almost $3 million of the gift has been received. MU Chancellor Richard Wallace said MU has no obligation to the donors.
In a press release, Mark Foster, managing partner at the Stinson, Morrison and Hecker law firm, which is administering the trust, said the organization was created by donors who see the value of intercollegiate athletics to both MU and the state.
Alden said the gift shows that people believe in the athletic department despite the challenges it has faced in the past year.
At the core of the challenges is a current NCAA investigation of the MU men’s basketball program. The probe is looking at allegations of misconduct within the program.
The $10 million gift is the third largest in MU history. MU’s School of Journalism tops the chart with a $31 million gift from the Reynolds Foundation last month. The school will use the money to build a journalism institute. The athletic department received the second largest gift with the $25 million donation to the new basketball arena scheduled to open next season.
Missourian staff writer Rick Metzroth contributed to this report.