MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--President Brad Martin and Athletic Director Tom Bowen announced today that alumni Bill and Nancy Laurie have made an extraordinary gift to the University of Memphis.
Their $10 million contribution to the capital campaign for athletic facilities is the single largest philanthropic gift in the history of the athletic department, and the second-largest gift ever in the 100-year history of the university.
“The University of Memphis and its proud athletics tradition played an extremely important role in shaping our lives,” said Bill and Nancy Laurie in a statement announcing the donation. “We are honored and gratified to play a role in support of the institution’s commitment to help guide current and future student-athletes toward their ultimate goals in life.”
Bill and Nancy Laurie are both graduates of the University of Memphis (then known as Memphis State University). Bill was a starting guard on the Memphis State men’s basketball team that played in the 1973 NCAA National Championship game. They are passionate philanthropists and have given numerous gifts in support of the arts, athletics and education.
“Forty years ago, Bill Laurie played a key role during one of the most significant times in the history of the University of Memphis as part of Gene Bartow’s Tigers when they played in the NCAA Division I Basketball National Championship game,” said University President Brad Martin. “The positive impact that team had on our university and our community has been felt for decades. Forty years later, Bill and Nancy are again playing a major role in one of the most significant phases of our university’s and community’s growth. We are deeply grateful for their leadership, loyalty, and generosity.”
By securing the $10 million lead gift, the athletic department leadership has reached a significant benchmark in the capital campaign. Memphis has already secured 25 percent of the funds necessary to reach its goal of $40 million, less than 120 days after the plan was unveiled by President Martin.
All capital campaign funds have been dedicated to athletics facilities on the U of M’s Park Avenue Campus. The plan calls for construction of a new men’s basketball practice and training facility, an indoor football practice complex, and a softball clubhouse, which includes indoor batting areas. It will additionally fund comprehensive upgrades and renovations to existing facilities, such as FedExPark and the Hardin Family Sports Complex. The upgrades will include improvements in common-use facilities that benefit each of the Tigers’ 18 athletics programs.
“The generosity of Bill and Nancy Laurie will have a tremendous impact on the future of the University of Memphis Athletics Department and its more than 400 student-athletes,” said Memphis Athletics Director Tom Bowen. “This gift will be a catalyst to allow our student-athletes to compete at the highest level and will help provide our programs with the tools and facilities necessary to continue building a culture of champions for decades to come.”