Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Arizona Athletics Announces Major Gifts for McKale Renovation
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 04, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Department of Intercollegiate Athletics today announced details of several major gifts which significantly advance progress toward funding renovations to the McKale Memorial Center.  Arizona Athletics, in coordination with the University of Arizona Foundation, is working to raise $30 million for the first phase of an overall $80 million McKale renovation project. Last month, Arizona Athletics announced that it had raised $12.6 million towards the project which included the $6 million lead gift from Cole and Jeannie Davis.

In the weeks since that exciting announcement, several gifts have been secured including an $8 million matching gift challenge from an anonymous donor. At this time, $1.6 million has been raised toward this $8 million dollar matching opportunity, bringing the current total gifts raised to $15.8 million.  If all $8 million is raised towards this match, total fundraising will reach $28.6 million.

“We’re extremely fortunate to receive an $8 million matching gift. It’s an incredible opportunity that we can potentially double our aggressive fundraising efforts to $16 million essentially overnight if we can meet the goal of the challenge,” Vice President for Athletics Greg Byrne said.

Along with the gift from the Davises, the project has received many other significant contributions, including a $2.5 million anonymous donation. The Donald Diamond family pledged $1 million, while George Rountree committed $800,000. Additionally, two $500,000 gifts have been contributed by separate anonymous donors.

Diamond, a Wildcat Club member since its inception and a 50-year season-ticket holder, is chairman of Diamond Ventures, Inc.  His business interests include a variety of real estate investments and development projects. The Diamond family is known for its generosity to nonprofits, including a $15 million gift for a new children’s medical center (part of the University of Arizona Medical Center) that will be a national player in children’s research and medical technology. For more than four decades, the Diamond Family has played major roles in supporting financially and through service, business, health, education and other charitable organizations in Tucson.

Rountree, a supporter of Arizona Athletics for 28 years, is the senior partner in the law firm of Rountree, Losee & Baldwin in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a 1960 graduate of University of Arizona College of Law and he graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from the UA. While attending the UA, Rountree played basketball from 1952-55 and he coached the freshman team for Fred Enke from 1958-60 while attending law school.

“I am very happy to see the results of the tremendous fundraising efforts of the athletics department and am grateful to all of the University’s supporters,” UA President Ann Weaver Hart said. “Athletics plays a vital role in the visibility of our campus and is a major part of the UA’s contributions to the life of our community, and I want to thank the donors who have come forward to support this project. McKale Center is an iconic building because it is a special meeting place for students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans, and the success of this project will have a great impact on our entire community.”

The $30 million goal for the initial phase of the project is expected to be met by April 1, 2014. Pending Arizona Board of Regents approval, Phase I renovations should start in May 2014.The renovation project will positively impact all 20 of UA’s sports programs and specifically the men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics programs that utilize McKale as their competition site.

Improvements to the facility will include upgraded seating, hand rails, enhanced lighting and a new playing floor. In addition, conceptual designs have been generated to address amenities and upgrades that are likely to include men’s and women’s locker rooms, concessions and restrooms.

“It is important to remember that people can support all of our programs and facilities, not just this McKale renovation” Byrne said. “For example, if you have a passion for football, we still have naming opportunities in facilities such as the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. People can make an impact in so many ways and we appreciate every contribution and what it allows us to do for each of our programs and student-athletes.”

Arizona Athletics is funded primarily through self-generated revenues and is an integral part of The University of Arizona. The majority of these revenues come from charitable gifts, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and television revenues.

Charitable gifts come from a collective group of donors that comprise the Wildcat Club. This financial support provides scholarships, state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, team travel and all the other tools that help student-athletes succeed on and off the playing surface. Anyone can join the Wildcat Club with a donation of $100 or more, which is tax deductible.

For more information call 520-621-CLUB (2582) or visit
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