August 18, 2011
DALLAS (SMU) - SMU Athletics today announced nearly $3 million in improvements to Gerald J. Ford Stadium, including upgrades to the football locker room and team meeting rooms as well as a new playing surface.
"We are committed to competing at the highest level," said SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini. "Part of that commitment includes having top-notch facilities. With its academics, media market, alumni loyalty, and overall commitment to athletics, we know SMU is a great place for our student-athletes, as well as prospective student-athletes, and improvements like this only reinforce that."
The renovations include a new team meeting room with stadium-style seating as well as renovated positional meeting rooms. Changes to the locker room included the creation of a new team lounge, as well as new lockers, updated graphics and audio/visual equipment.
Walter Umphrey, a former SMU student and Beaumont attorney, donated $1 million to the efforts in honor of his former Mustang teammate Garry Weber. SMU alumnus and Austin businessman John Gorman and an anonymous Houston-based donor each gave $500,000 for the project, and the remaining balance was from various donors.
SMU Athletics has set annual fundraising records for three straight years and has seen an astonishing 82% spike in annual giving since Steve Orsini's arrival as Director of Athletics in 2006, despite a challenging economic environment. For fiscal year 2011, which ended May 31, SMU Athletics added $6.6 million in annual gifts, breaking the $6 million mark for the first time. It was only a year ago that Athletics surpassed the $5 million mark for the first time. Including capital and other gifts, over $10.5 million was given to SMU Athletics in 2011.
To donate to SMU Athletics, contact Tim Leonard, Sr. Assoc. A.D./External Affairs, at 214-768-4465.
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SMU, the only Division I athletic program in Dallas, Texas, sponsors 17 sports and has been ranked as the top school in its conference for 11 of the last 13 years in the Director's Cup overall athletic rankings. More information about SMU and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at www.SMUMustangs.com.