Ted Lunney ’92, a loyal alum and Husky basketball fan, will be one of the first donors to have a locker named after him in UConn’s new Werth Family UConn Basketball Champion Center.
Lunney says he wanted to contribute because of the strong connection he feels toward UConn, where he majored in business and formed lifelong friendships.
“This is a chance to give back to a place that had a big impact on me personally and professionally. Hopefully, this will have a positive impact on the university,” Lunney said. “I have incredibly fond memories of UConn. It’s been a great experience.”
The new 78,000-square-foot basketball practice facility features common areas for strength training, academic support, and sports medicine as well as separate practice gyms, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, and video analysis theaters. Fundraising is ongoing for the $40 million facility, the first and only building on campus funded completely by philanthropy.
“Seeing major supporters like Dan Toscano ’87 and Mark Shenkman ’65 give both their time and money over the years planted the seeds for me to make my own donation. Hopefully it will have a meaningful impact,” Lunney said. “The perfect opportunity presented itself in the locker naming at the Werth Family Champion’s Center.”
Lunney’s donation will assist UConn Athletics’ Drive to 5K initiative to raise funds for scholarships, facility expenses, and other related costs to support UConn’s 24 teams. To date, nearly 4,000 donors have contributed to support our 700 student-athletes and help keep UConn’s teams nationally competitive. UConn is competing with universities such as Kansas, which has 6,050 athletic donors, Maryland, which has 6,500, and Rutgers, which boasts 7,460.
Lunney was raised in Meriden. His parents divorced early and he was raised by his father, Bob, an elementary school teacher in North Haven. After graduating from Maloney High School, Lunney headed to UConn. A lot has changed on campus since then. He remembers watching the basketball team play in the old fieldhouse and the Hilltop residence halls had just opened and were considered the “cream of the crop” in dorm living. UConn’s transformation through the UConn 2000 construction program was just starting then.
His fondest memories are of the great friendships he formed at UConn, particularly during his junior year on his floor in Hale Hall. He remembers the day it all started when three guys down the hall were trying to watch a game on an old TV with a rabbit-ear antenna in their room. They were frustrated because they couldn’t get any reception.
They walked by Lunney’s room and noticed that he was watching the same game. They asked if he minded if they watched it with him.
“I had cable TV,” Lunney said. “That was a big deal then.”
After that, every day he came home from class he’d find them in his room watching cable.
They became and have remained good friends over the years. All three were in his wedding party and they still get together, though not as often.
“What I remember most about UConn is the great relationships we created, the lifelong relationships you establish going through university together,” he said.
Lunney married his high school sweetheart, Melissa, and they live in Westport with their two daughters, Alexa, 11, and Taylor, 8, whom he calls his “mini Huskies.” Lunney has worked on Wall Street for the past 23 years. He currently runs the high yield trading desk for the Bank of Montreal, BMO Capital Markets, in New York.