More than 160 Huskies fans and donors celebrated the construction and fundraising progress of the UConn Basketball Champions Center with a tour of the facility before the men’s basketball program took on defending national champions Louisville in a sold-out Gampel Pavilion.
The event, a partnership between the UConn Foundation, UConn Alumni Association and the Greater Hartford Chapter of the UConn Alumni Association, was a chance for some of the leading donors—as well as many new donors—to see the center in person, as well as hear about the progress to date and the opportunities still available for supporting this critically important project. UConn Athletics Steering Committee member Mike Melio publicly announced a $500,000 pledge to support the center in honor of Donald “Dee” Rowe, former UConn men’s basketball coach and longtime special adviser for athletics.
UConn President Susan Herbst, Director of Athletics Warde Manuel and Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun spoke to the audience, showcasing the University’s vision for the center. President Herbst highlighted the pride that UConn athletics brings to the University, state and nation, and noted that the center will help attract and retain the best student-athletes, as well as help to build and support the successful basketball programs that UConn is known for.
The more than 75,000 square-foot UConn Basketball Champions Center is being funded entirely by private donations and has received more than $27 million from donors toward an estimated goal of $40 million.
A groundbreaking was held in April 2013, and major construction will continue throughout the spring, with the building in full operation before the 2014-2015 season.