AMU Receives $4-Million Gift for Athletic Venue

Published on Thursday, 05 November 2009 13:33

golisano1aAve Maria University has received a $4-million donation from philanthropist Tom Golisano (right) that will fund building the university's first indoor athletic facility. The university hopes to begin construction in January, according to a news release.

The Tom Golisano Field House is planned to include a court area for basketball or volleyball, spectator seating for about 1,000 people, locker rooms and training facilities. It will be located just north of the student union building.

Mr. Golisano, who made a fortune as the founder of the Paychex payroll processing company, has been active in philanthropic and political endeavors in his native New York State, where he ran three times for governor and owns the Buffalo Sabres hockey team. AMU says in a news release that he has donated about $130 million to various charities.

Much of his philanthropic activity has focused on upstate New York and his beneficiaries have included several Catholic academic institutions. Mr. Golisano changed his official residence to Naples, FL, from New York earlier this year and the gift to AMU is believed to be his first to a Florida-based organization.

gym1"I am pleased to contribute to this exciting new endeavor at Ave Maria University," Mr. Golisano said in a news release. "Athletic programs, sports teams, wellness activities and clubs help to round out the college experience for students and their families and more importantly, keep young minds engaged and healthy."  Left, an artist rendering of the structure.

University Chancellor Tom Monaghan, in thanking Mr. Golisano for his "tremendous generosity," said, "Any donation of this magnitude is obviously extremely significant, but given what this gift enables us to do as a university, it is particularly meaningful at this time in our development."

golisano3aThe AMU basketball and volleyball teams currently play their home games in the gym of the Donahue Academy grammar and prep school located a few blocks from the university campus. (Left, the women's basketball team attending the news conference.) The gym has limited seating -- it was packed to overflowing at the opening game of the men's basketball season Nov. 1 -- and also lacks enough locker rooms and showers for visiting teams.

"The entire university community is humbled and quite frankly ecstatic over this contribution," Mr. Monaghan said.golisano2a (Below right, Mr. Monaghan with AMU Gyrenes mascot Jax and Mr. Golisano.)

Click here for story from the Naples Daily News

More information on Tom Golisano's philanthropic activities can be found at his foundation's website here