AMHERST, Mass. - With just under a month to go before the official close to the 2013 fiscal year, the University of Massachusetts Department of Athletics has surpassed the 2012 fundraising mark with one of the most successful campaigns in recent years. Following the public launch of the UMass Rising campaign and the groundbreaking of the Champions Center for basketball and the Football Performance Center in late April, excitement surrounding UMass Athletics has generated a total of $4.28 million raised compared to the $3.2 million last year.
A major gift by UMass alumnus Ed Ward will help ensure the future growth and success of UMass Athletics. Ward, a long-time and staunch supporter of the University, has made a $2.25 million commitment to the Athletics Department.
"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 University 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 Director of Athletics 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, UMass' fundraising efforts have been successful thanks to participation in The Minuteman Club which now boasts over 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 during the University's sesquicentennial anniversary, 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 & public service programs, improve buildings & infrastructure and bolster participation in annual giving. For its part of the Campaign, the Athletics Department has already raised $18.4 million towards its goal of $33 million (56 percent).
The UMass Athletics Department invites you to become part of the Minutemen Club and help us continue to make history. To learn more, visitwww.TheMinutemenClub.com or call 413-545-4290.
Membership in The Minutemen Club starts at only $25 annually with most membership levels qualifying for multiple benefits such as game day parking, preferred seating and eligibility for post-season tickets.