The WVU College of Business and Economics received the largest corporate gift in its history and the Athletic Department secured funding for weight room upgrades from BrickStreet Insurance Tuesday.
The company announced a $4 million donation to WVU. That money will be split into two separate gifts: $3 million to the College of Business and Economics and $1 million to the Athletic Department.
Oliver Luck, WVU’s athletic director, said the donation will go toward upgrades to the weight room at the Puskar Center.
“This will greatly help our athletic programs,” Luck said. “It will go a long way toward allowing us to upgrade things at the Puskar Center that haven’t been upgraded since it opened up 30 years ago.”
Luck emphasized the importance of having top-notch facilities in the college athletics business.
“It’s important for us to constantly upgrade our facilities,” Luck said. “We’re a little bit in an arms race in athletics in terms of bricks and mortar. And bricks and mortar are important not just for training for student athletes, but also for recruiting. Kids want to see the nicest facilities.”
While the football team spends the most time in the weight room, the renovations will benefit other athletes and students as well, WVU President Jim Clements said.
“The gift to our athletics program will help us to provide quality athletic facilities for student-athletes and a great opportunity for our students in majors such as athletic training and exercise physiology to learn in a state-of-the-art environment,” Clements said. ”We are very grateful for these incredible gifts from the BrickStreet Foundation and look forward to seeing the positive impacts for years to come.”
Meanwhile, the $3 million to the College of B&E will create the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It’s the largest corporate donation in the college’s history.
The college has already implemented innovation and entrepreneurship programs. Dean Jose “Zito” Sartarelli said building a top business school is crucial for students, faculty and the state.
“I believe that if these young minds develop what I call the ‘entrepreneurial bug’ that will stay with them and they will be innovative, create their own businesses, and create jobs,” Sartarelli said. “It’s the ability to teach young students to create their own ideas and how to put them into practice.”
BrickStreet, which was privatized in 2006, has a foundation with about $30 million. Greg Burton, BrickStreet’s president and CEO, said Tuesday’s donation was an opportunity for the company to support the state’s flagship university.
“We wanted to give back to the community, and one way to do that is to give back to great institutions like WVU,” Burton said. “We decided that this is something that will impact the community from both the academic and athletic side.”
The donation was made as part of the WVU Foundation’s “State of Minds” Campaign, which has a goal of raising $750 million by Dec. 2015. As of the latest numbers release, the WVU Foundation had raised $605 million.