History was made on the UConn campus today, as the UConn Foundation handed over to the University the first building financed entirely with private donations and no taxpayer money. The UConn Basketball Champions Center was dedicated in the name of Peter J. and Pamela H. Werth, who made their second gift in three years for the new practice and training home for the Huskies’ championship basketball programs.
The $40 million state-of-the-art basketball practice facility behind Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, the on-campus home of the 2014 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championship teams, will ensure that no university will surpass UConn when it comes to supporting its student-athletes.
“We believe the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center is the key to sustaining UConn’s tradition of great basketball,” says Coleman Levy ‘61, ’62, ’66, chairman of the UConn Foundation Board of Directors. “Built solely with private donations, this new facility is a real tribute to the steadfastness of our friends and alumni and their willingness to support UConn’s transformation and vision for the future. We are so grateful to the Werth family and the many generous donors who helped make this great new facility possible.”
The 75,000-plus square-foot facility features complete facilities for the men’s and women’s championship basketball programs. The building includes common academic support, sports medicine and strength training areas along with separate practice gyms, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, meeting rooms and video analysis facilities.
Upon entering the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center, the lobby will feature a display of NCAA trophies representing the four men’s championships and the nine women’s titles. On each side of the main lobby leading to the women’s and men’s areas, visitors will be greeted by a floor-to-ceiling image of an iconic Husky representing each program—Maya Moore and Ray Allen.
Last year men’s head coach Kevin Ollie ’95 and women’s head coach Geno Auriemma led the Huskies to dual championships, a feat accomplished just once before in NCAA history when Jim Calhoun and Auriemma led UConn to both national championships in 2004.
The Werth family is also making history; their original gift for the practice facility three years ago was one of the largest single private gifts ever made to the Division of Athletics. Now the Werths are making another investment in UConn’s quest for additional championships.
“UConn is a very special place,” says Peter Werth, a season ticket holder for both basketball teams and the football team, who says he has a special fondness for UConn women’s basketball. “The young people who go to UConn come out better than they went in, not only in terms of education but also in attitude and life skills. UConn does a great job and my family is pleased to be able to support it.”
Pamela Werth, a strong supporter of programs that marry the arts and sports to education, said she was impressed by the building’s focus on education resources for student athletes. “The sound-proof study rooms and educational support areas are a tribute to the importance of academics to our student-athletes,” she says.
Peter Werth is the founder and CEO of Chemwerth Inc., a full service generic drug development and supply company based in Connecticut. He and his wife have been active UConn Athletics donors since 2003. Their strong connection to the University began with their children—Peter III, Debbie and Jackie—all of whom attended UConn.
Warde Manuel, UConn director of athletics, says the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center will provide important support for student-athletes who join one of the nation’s best-known championship basketball programs.
“I look at this building as an important resource for our championship basketball programs and for Coaches Geno Auriemma and Kevin Ollie, who provide the leadership that allows our student athletes to excel in their sport and in their classrooms” he says.
The Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center was designed by Populous, the former HOK Sport, which designed The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center located across the street from the new facilty.