Alumnus Ed Ward, a longtime campus supporter, has made a $2.25 million commitment to the Athletics Department.
With just under a month to go before the close of the fiscal year, the Athletics has received $4.28 million, surpassing last year’s fundraising mark of $3.2 million.
“I received a great education from the university and really enjoyed my time there as I worked on my degrees. I feel I owe a lot to the university and that was the main reason for me doing this,” said Ward, who is a member of the Athletics Council and a board member of the Court Club. “I grew up loving sports and I believe that athletics are important for the university; that being well-known in athletics helps with the process of being well-known academically.”
Ward hopes his gift will help inspire others to support the campus and Athletics.
“If we want to succeed in athletics, it is imperative that our alumni and friends step up to support the programs by making financial gifts. My hope with this gift is that other alumni will say, ‘If Ed Ward is doing this, then why can’t I make a gift as well’ to really help the department.”
“We deeply appreciate the generosity and commitment Ed has made to the success of UMass,” said athletic director John McCutcheon. “Anyone familiar with the Athletics Department knows that no one has been more supportive over the years than Ed and a gift of this nature coming from him is particularly special.”
In addition to individual alumni support, fundraising efforts have been successful thanks to participation in the Minuteman Club, which now boasts more than 2,600 members.
“We’re very pleased with the progress that is being made by the Minutemen Club,” said McCutcheon. “Of course, we think there are great opportunities in the future. We will continue to grow our support and efforts to provide resources to our coaches and student-athletes. We hope our many supporters are excited and looking forward to seeing the many initiatives we’ve put in place for UMass Athletics—and that they’ll join us as we move forward.”
Launched in conjunction with the campus’ sesquicentennial celebration, the UMass Rising campaign was officially announced in April. The five main goals of the $300 million campaign are to help attract outstanding students, support exceptional faculty, encourage research and public service programs, improve buildings and infrastructure and bolster participation in annual giving. For its part, the Athletics Department has already raised $18.4 million, or 56 percent, of its goal of $33 million.