NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Rutgers University announced today that its R Big Ten Build fundraising campaign has surpassed its goal of raising $100 million for athletics facilities.
More than 4,000 supporters donated to the initiative, but head men's basketball coach Steve Pikiell and football Chris Ash made "significant contributions" to push the total past $100 million, according to a statement issued by the school's athletics communications department.
“It’s only fitting that coaches Ash and Pikiell put us over the top, as it reflects our shared commitment to create an optimal student-athlete experience,” Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs said. “We are exceptionally grateful for their support and for the many who invested in our future. We are just beginning to realize our potential. This past month, we crowned two national champions and once again set a record for Big Ten all-academic honorees. Our success will only grow as we continue to cultivate and build resources.”
Launched on Jan. 20, 2016, the campaign was kick-started by $25 million in tax credits under an Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant co-sponsored by Senators Raymond Lesniak and Tom Kean, Jr., supported by Senator Stephen Sweeney and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, and signed by Governor Chris Christie.
“The Rutgers community has been so impactful to me and my family that it only felt right to join the many others who have generously supported this vision for the future,” said Pikiell. “This campaign and these facilities will positively impact every student-athlete and will provide the necessary resources allowing them to succeed academically and athletically during their time as Scarlet Knights. I am thankful to be at Rutgers and energized about the future of our program and Rutgers Athletics.”
The Ash Family pledged their gift to acknowledge the generosity of supporters and to directly impact the evolving needs of The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center.
“We are excited to be able to make a contribution to the academic growth of our student-athletes,” Ash said. “Their academic success is our top priority and we are committed to creating the best environment for them to work in as they pursue their degrees.”
The largest gift in Rutgers Athletics history - $15 million – was made toward R Big Ten Build to enable construction of The Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center by the namesake benefactors. A ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility will take place on Saturday. The Center will serve all student-athletes and provide a range of resources, including academic advising, learning specialists, one-on-one and group tutoring, as well as housing soccer, lacrosse and administration.
The contribution followed record-setting major gifts to support Rutgers' approximately 650 student-athletes from Rutgers Board of Governors member and Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown and his wife Anna, noted real estate developer Steven Plofker and makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, and business leaders and philanthropists Jeff and Amy Towers.
“As we continue to build and relentlessly pursue excellence, we are so grateful for the many Rutgers supporters and R Fund members who have answered the call and helped to transform the academic and athletic experience for current and future student-athletes,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director of Development Carly Northup.
The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center at Rutgers University will welcome occupants this summer, with a grand opening slated for September. The 307,000-square-foot, four-story facility and parking deck serves to create a comprehensive sports medicine program to serve Rutgers athletes, students and communities throughout New Jersey, in addition to providing practice facilities for men's and women's basketball, wrestling and gymnastics.
The Marco Battaglia Football Practice Complex, spearheaded by a $5 million gift from the Towers, was unveiled in August 2017. The Complex will be supplemented by the Brown Family Football Locker Room, which is currently under construction and to be completed for fall training camp. The best-in-class locker room was made possible by a $4 million contribution from the Browns that elevated their Big Ten Build giving to $7.5 million.
The Fred Hill Baseball and Softball Training Complex, The Ron and Joanna Garutti Strength and Conditioning Center, The Abe Suydam Men's Basketball Locker room, and The Harriett and Bob Druskin Strength and Conditioning Center have also risen through the generosity of donors via the R Big Ten Build campaign.