June 30, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A $1 million gift from UniWyo Federal Credit Union will rename the MultiPurpose Gym, and essentially exhaust the $10 million matching fund established by the 2004 Wyoming State Legislature, University of Wyoming Athletics Director Gary Barta announced Wednesday.
According to Barta, $750,000 of the gift is earmarked for intercollegiate athletics, and $250,000 in support of the university's scholarship and international programs. Nearly all of the $1 million gift will be matched by the Wyoming legislature's matching fund for the Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics and the university's DISTINCTION campaign.
The gift, the second largest of the intercollegiate athletics' facilities campaign, will change the name of the MultiPurpose Gym to the UniWyo Sports Complex. The facility is home to the Cowgirl volleyball and Cowboy wrestling programs, and hosts a number of events and activities. Barta says UniWyo will own naming rights for a period of 15 years.
UniWyo has been a marquee sponsor for UW's Olympic sports for a number of years.
"The University of Wyoming has always enjoyed a great relationship with UniWyo," Barta says. "This gift is a perfect fit. We're thrilled to be able to add the UniWyo name to our facility offering. This gift is especially important to us because it essentially exhausts the match by the Wyoming legislature. All that remains of the state match is the portion set aside for the "Challenge Eight" fund, which will help with construction of the new track.
"We have reached a lofty goal, and are very proud of that accomplishment," Barta continues. "We sincerely thank everyone who helped us match the legislature's generosity. But we need to continue to set new fund-raising goals to allow us to complete all of our projects."
"My hope is that the ties between UniWyo Federal Credit Union and UW will grow even stronger as we support the matching funds program for athletic facilities, a program that is particularly important to UW," says Larry Knopp, president of UniWyo. "At the same time, UniWyo is making a substantial contribution to the academic programs at UW. With this donation, our board of directors recognizes the importance of both academics and athletics to the future of the University of Wyoming. I have a degree from UW as do many of our employees. We want UW to continue to offer the educational opportunities we have enjoyed, and make even more opportunities available to our children and grandchildren.
"UniWyo began more than 50 years ago when nine UW employees applied for a charter to start a credit union," Knopp concludes. "Although more than 60 different organizations now offer UniWyo membership to their employees, UW is still our largest select employee group."
University trustees in September 2003 approved the Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics to position UW for success as a member of the NCAA Division 1-A Mountain West Conference. A key element of the plan was to address critical facility needs to strengthen the recruitment of student-athletes and coaches, and to enhance the fan experience in War Memorial Stadium.
While two facility needs in the plan have already been addressed -- repairing of the structure on the upper west stands of War Memorial Stadium and the replacement of the playing surface with artificial turf -- others can now become reality including building an indoor practice field primarily for football and women's soccer, but ultimately benefiting all 17 sports at UW; enhancing the stadium with improved restroom and concession facilities, as well as donor suites; improving women's tennis facilities; and installing an all-weather track (funded through a gift of the Louis Madrid estate and contributions from families and fans honoring the eight UW cross country runners who died in a car accident in 2001).