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Gifts Boost Gym Project
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 11, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON?-Gifts from Cole and Jeannie Davis and University of Arizona coach Lute Olson have boosted the UA athletic department’s capital campaign to secure funds for a new campus practice facility.


            The gift of $1 million from the Davises was given in the days following the death of UA basketball player Shawntinice Polk and was specified by the family to honor Polk with a namesake portion of the facility. 


            “The fundamental nature of this gift came from their hearts, in a difficult time for everyone in the athletic department,” UA athletics director Jim Livengood said of the Davises. “It was an awe-inspiring act on their behalf.”


            ““Shawntinice Polk set an example for so many young people looking for opportunities to improve their lives,” the Davises told UA officials.  “She has given inspiration to everyone, and shown what a person can accomplish in making her own life better. She grew so much, and will continue to be a role model to so many young men and women.


            “We felt Shawntinice was the embodiment of what the University of Arizona can do for a person ?- for a student-athlete ?- and felt it was important for us to recognize that relationship,” the Davises wrote. 


            Coach Olson and his wife, Christine, have provided a gift of $250,000 that also will go toward the proposed building, which has received conceptual approval by the university administration and is pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents this winter. The gymnasium will be built to the north of the existing Hillenbrand Aquatic Center and Mary Roby Gymnastics practice facility along North Campbell Avenue.


            “"It is a much-needed facility,” Olson said.  “This will go a long way towards helping all of the programs that use McKale Center by alleviating many of the scheduling conflicts.  I'm happy that we're going to get this done and Christine and I are proud to have provided a lead gift.  Hopefully, it is something that other friends of the University and the athletic department see and will decide to get involved as well."


            The project, expected to cost some $15 million in private funds, is part of a capital campaign that includes the new gym, renovation of the swimming facility including a new diving well, expansion of the gymnastics’ resources, renovation of the basketball coaches office complex, Frank Sancet Field/Kindall stadium improvements currently under way for baseball, and improvements to track and field’s Drachman Stadium, Livengood said.


            Senior associate athletics director Chris Del Conte said a number of benefactors have helped join forces to acquire the necessary funding for the capital improvements. “With these gifts and others, we have more than $6.2 million toward the projects. We’re really pleased by the response we’ve had to these needed improvements. This kind of generosity is vital to our continued success as a top intercollegiate program,” he said.


            H. Coleman Davis III and his wife, Jeannie, moved to the Tucson area several years ago after a successful business career in Indiana, where he was founder and president of Keystone RV Co. in Goshen, manufacturer of recreational vehicles. In 1998 Ernst & Young LLP named Davis Northern Indiana’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the large manufacturing category.  In 2002 Davis was appointed chairman and CEO of Keystone, which he had sold to Thor Industries in late 2001.
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