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McMurry $6 Million Gift Champions UW Student-Athletes

September 26, 2015
artist's view of interior of the new academic center
The Marian H. Rochelle Academic Center will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment with greater accessibility for student-athletes of all sports to take advantage of academic support and tutoring.

A $6 million gift from Wyoming philanthropists Mick and Susie McMurry through the McMurry Foundation will elevate Wyoming intercollegiate athletics to new heights of excellence.

“We have given this gift with great pride,” says Susie McMurry. “I know Mickey would be proud and humbled -- very humbled -- to have his name appear on the High Altitude Performance Center. We have great respect and confidence in the leadership of the University of Wyoming. This gift furthers our mission to build a better Wyoming, and this facility will be a great asset to the university, to the state and to all who will benefit.”

The McMurrys’ $6 million will be joined with $6 million in contributions by family, friends and business partners honoring the life of Mick McMurry and the devotion of the McMurrys to Wyoming and its university. In turn, this $12 million will be doubled by state matching funds, for a total of $24 million.

As a result of this transformational generosity, the $44 million expansion project of the Rochelle Athletics Center will be named the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center, a state-of-the-art athletics training facility that will foster UW student-athlete success on and off the field.

“The McMurry Foundation continues to be a driving force for Wyoming and for high-quality education,” says Gov. Matt Mead. “The Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center will benefit athletes, enhance the university and be a point of pride for Wyoming. Susie continues the work she and Mick started. Many others continue to be inspired by their example and follow their lead. To Susie, the McMurry Foundation and the friends of Mick and Susie McMurry, we say thanks and ‘Let ‘er Buck!’”

The current Curtis and Marian Rochelle Athletics Center will be expanded and renovated to include the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center. The RAC isn’t going anywhere, but rather is being enlarged and updated to include the center.

The Rochelle Athletics Center has served the UW Cowboy and Cowgirl athletic programs since opening its doors in 2000, maximizing the performance of thousands of student-athletes.

The new High Altitude Performance Center -- the premier Mountain West Conference athletics facility resulting from this public-private partnership -- will feature new or expanded spaces focused on academic success, nutrition, strength and conditioning, sports medicine and rehabilitation, and recovery facilities for all of Wyoming’s more than 400 student-athletes.

“The McMurrys’ support of the University of Wyoming is unprecedented,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “On behalf of UW, I would like to express my profound appreciation for their noteworthy generosity. Their leadership in philanthropy and commitment to UW is unmatched, and Susie is carrying forward her and Mick’s remarkable legacy for generations of student-athletes.”

Of the $44 million total project, $24 million will come from private donations and $20 million will come from the State of Wyoming matching program. Currently, the university has raised over $17.7 million of the $24 million goal in private contributions.

At the north end zone of War Memorial Stadium, the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center will integrate the traditional university sandstone with a gesture to the historic campus architecture -- a dramatic backdrop for televised games and a spectacular addition to the gameday atmosphere.

The new center will ensure that UW capitalizes on its greatest competitive advantage -- physical training for young men and women at 7,220 feet. The thin air of the Rocky Mountains provides an opportunity for Cowboys and Cowgirls to gain unique conditioning that cannot be achieved at lower elevations.

“I am so pleased the McMurry Family agreed to this amazing gift, as this will leave a legacy to a man whom I truly viewed as a mentor and a friend,” says Athletics Director Tom Burman. “Mick talked about ‘building a better Wyoming’ -- this facility absolutely builds a better Wyoming athletics program, but equally important it will build better leaders. The facility and infrastructure will improve our ability to develop student-athletes in a world-class manner, and we are confident it will change Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics for decades.”

The first floor of the center is designed to maximize efficiency and to create a welcoming environment for UW’s student-athletes. The second floor will be focused on key programmatic elements for the success of all UW’s student-athletes.

The facility will include an expanded Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, an expanded Academic Center, a new Training Table and Nutrition Center, sports performance training technologies, and a new weight room and locker room for the UW football program.

The Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center will provide comprehensive services to prevent, evaluate, treat and rehabilitate the sports-related injuries of UW’s student-athletes.

The new Marian H. Rochelle Academic Center, which was named by a lead gift from Marian Rochelle of $3 million, will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for student-athletes of all sports to take advantage of staff support and tutoring.

The Training Table and Nutrition Center will be a hub of activity. It will integrate technology for customizing each meal to meet the distinct nutritional needs of the individual student-athlete. The arrangement of the space will allow for team meals, as well as more casual and intimate dining.

Cowboy football performance will be enhanced through the Football Strength and Performance Center, a new War Room for full team meetings and other campus uses, an expanded football locker room and team lounge, and exhibits honoring the history and traditions of Cowboy football.

“Football is a developmental program,” Head Coach Craig Bohl says. “If you look at the well-being of the student-athlete, the player, you’re looking at their academic success, their physical maturation, and their overall medical well-being. This facility addresses all those needs.”

The existing football coaches’ office suite and position meeting rooms will be renovated and in some cases enlarged to increase efficiencies for the student-athletes and the coaches within their busy daily schedules.

Coach Bohl has brought a new attitude of excellence and a strong vision to Cowboy football. His “Wyoming Profile” includes the unwavering commitment that his players should graduate with a meaningful degree and the perennial goal of football winning the Mountain West Conference championship. This Wyoming Profile is applicable not only to football but also to all student-athletes.

“Mick and Susie continue to transform our university,” says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president. “It is impossible to fully express to Mick and Susie the depth of gratitude that those of us who work here at UW, and our students, feel. The McMurrys’ historic generosity is unparalleled.”

Mick and Susie McMurry are now the largest supporters of UW, yet this is the first time their names will appear together on a project. The High Altitude Performance Center is the latest in their immeasurable impact on the university and the state.

The McMurrys and the McMurry Foundation have donated a transformational $27.9 million to support projects across the UW campus. These projects include the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, UW Athletics, the College of Education, the University Plaza and Conference Center, UW-Casper and the Wyoming Technology Business Center.

In 2012, the McMurrys gave $6 million to support the McMurry Foundation UW Legacy Hall and the Grand Atrium in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, a dramatic welcoming center with a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure that was funded entirely through private support.

In 2005, a key $5 million gift doubled to $10 million through the state match to UW Athletics from the McMurry family and John and Mari Ann Martin named War Memorial Stadium’s playing surface Jonah Field. The gift also helped fund other construction projects identified in the Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics.

The McMurry family ignited a remarkable era of energy within Wyoming through the reopening of the Jonah natural gas field in the 1990s. The dividends coming to UW and the state as a result of Mick’s vision and tireless work are immeasurable. 

In 1998, the McMurrys established the McMurry Foundation, with the mission of building a better Wyoming and “paying it forward.” The goal of the foundation is a significant and beneficial impact on communities within Wyoming by investing in innovative ventures, as well as establishing community programs that have the potential to make a lasting difference. The values of excellence and compassion guide the work of the McMurry Foundation.

“The McMurrys’ contributions to our university are well noted throughout campus,” says Coach Bohl. “This gift is another example of the spirit of Mick and Susie and what it means to be from Wyoming. They’re all-in. Their generosity is a great benefit to student-athlete performance on and off the field. That’s how you build greatness.” 

UW announced the gift today (Saturday) in the McMurry Foundation UW Legacy Hall at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center before the football game against New Mexico. Speakers included the governor, Burman, Bohl and Blalock.

Susie McMurry and members of the McMurry family were also recognized on the football field after the first quarter.

 


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Chad Baldwin

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