UMaine Athletics Receives $90 Million Gift from Harold Alfond Foundation
UMaine Athletic Director Ken Ralph will join The Drive Wednesday afternoon to discuss the financial gift and what it will be used for on campus.
Here is the full release from the University of Maine :
Orono, Maine - The Harold Alfond Foundation has committed an unprecedented $90 million gift to UMaine Athletics. The historic gift marks the largest single contribution for athletics at a public university in New England and is among the largest gifts ever nationwide.
"Words cannot adequately convey our appreciation for the generosity of the Harold Alfond Foundation," said UMaine Director of Athletics Ken Ralph. "This gift to the University of Maine System and to Black Bear Athletics once again shows how the Board of the Harold Alfond Foundation continues to honor Mr. Alfond's passion for excellence in education and athletics. Working with Greg Powell, Travis Cummings, and the Alfond Foundation Board was an amazing experience. They were encouraging, supportive, and fully engaged in exploring the ways we could best serve our department, our university, and our community."
The gift to Black Bear Athletics will provide support to maintain excellence at Maine's flagship university with state-of-the-art athletic venues, benefiting all of the university's students and people from throughout Maine.
"This grant will allow us to build out new facilities and upgrade our existing facilities to improve the competitiveness of our Division I teams, advance our stated commitment to gender equity in our athletics programs, as well as create a destination for youth club programs and high school championship level events, cementing Orono as the premier destination in Maine for sports while drawing countless youth to our campus to enjoy the thrill of competing."
The transformative gift will go towards capital projects in direct support of the athletics facilities master plan. Details and specifics about the master plan will be disclosed at a later date.
"The full execution of our plan will positively impact all 17 of our varsity programs while also providing better facilities for our on campus recreational sports. The spectator experience will also be enhanced so people can more easily make the decision to come to campus to cheer on their Black Bears."
The Harold Alfond Foundation's $90 million gift to UMaine Athletics will be distributed over the next 10 years, serving as a long-term investment in UMaine's student-athletes, staff, and community. It is the lead gift in a planned $110 million investment in athletic facilities on the Orono campus, all expected to be funded through private philanthropy.
"Since the mid-1970s, when Harold Alfond made a gift which would become Alfond Arena, the Alfond family has positively impacted generations of athletes in Orono," added Ralph. "This new grant will allow us to enhance the Alfond legacy with the University of Maine and the Black Bears. We are humbled by the generosity shown by the Harold Alfond Foundation and will work hard every day to live up to the expectations Harold Alfond had for the university and its athletic department."
The gift to UMaine Athletics is part of a larger, $240 million investment by the Harold Alfond Foundation to the University of Maine System. The $240 million gift is the largest ever to a public institution of higher education in New England and the 8th largest gift ever made to a U.S. institution of public higher education.