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By UW Foundation Staff
The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is the University of Wyoming’s dramatic welcoming center with a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure that is funded entirely through private support. It is a cross-campus collaboration and a place for students past, present and future.
The grand opening of the spectacular Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center will occur on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Details are still in the works, but there will be honored speakers and recognition of donors, including Marian H. Rochelle and Mick and Susie McMurry. This event will celebrate the culmination of work that has gone into this remarkable building and open UW to the world.
Plans for the 67,000-square-foot Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center project—located on the corner of 22nd and Grand Avenue near War Memorial Stadium—began in 2008 and are featured prominently in the university’s long-range development plan. In July 2011, the UW Board of Trustees assembled a university facilities planning team and charged them with the direction and leadership of this project. Among its members were constituents from across campus and the UW Foundation Board, including Scott Neu, board chair; April Brimmer Kunz, vice chair; emeritus chairs Clayton Hartman, Roy Cline, Greg Dyekman and Frank Mendicino; and Mari Ann Martin, former foundation board member.
The building will be home to the UW Alumni Association, admissions, career services and the UW Foundation. The facility will contain office and collaborative space for these units as they support and promote the university, and UW’s external audiences will benefit greatly from this arrangement.
Through the vision and guidance of the UW Foundation Board of Directors, UW has raised more than $25 million in private funds for the building, making this the largest fundraising facility project in UW history.
“This building is fully supported by private giving,” says UW Foundation President and CEO Ben Blalock. “That is so important. With all the major agendas of the University of Wyoming, we did not feel that we could in any way interfere with university priorities. We said we’d fund this building, and if we didn’t fund it, then it wouldn’t be built.”
The center’s namesake, philanthropist Marian H. Rochelle, gave a historic $10 million gift. Mick and Susie McMurry gave $6 million through the McMurry Foundation to support the Grand Atrium and the Legacy Hall. Greg and Loren Hill gave $1.25 million to create the north plaza, Roy and Fay Whitney gave $1 million to create the south plaza, and Carol and Ramon Tomé gave $1 million for the Student Admissions Center. The list goes on. The center has inspired many more wonderful gifts from UW’s dedicated supporters.
“The vision that my mother saw in the Gateway is helping students from beginning to end. This building will be a place that will be the front door of the University of Wyoming,” says April Brimmer Kunz, Marian H. Rochelle’s daughter and UW Foundation Board vice chair. “Education has always been her top priority, and this was a way she could actually put into bricks and mortar the concept to help students with their lives, because education is the one thing nobody can ever take away from you.”
“Because we are both natives of Wyoming and alums of the University of Wyoming, this is the important icing on the cake, so to speak,” says Mick McMurry. “The last 10 or 12 years, this university has been completely transitioned and rebuilt. We’re proud of that. We’re proud of being part of it. Thanks to the energy production and energy development that Wyoming is so good at, we have $700 million or more new facilities that’s all paid for. There’s not too many universities in America that can make that statement.”
“Micky and I have been fortunate enough to be part of that Wyoming story,” adds Susie McMurry. “We both were born and raised in Wyoming. We’re both honored and proud to be part of the University of Wyoming’s success. This is where we live, this is the place we love, and we will always be supporters of the University of Wyoming—for not only our children but for all the children in Wyoming.”
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