DIA Surpasses Illinois Campaign Fundraising Goal – University of Illinois Athletics – Fighting Illinois | Region & Cash

CHAMPAGNE, Ill.— The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics outperformed its entire campus With Illinois The fundraiser’s goal was set more than eight years ago and ended with a total of more than $321 million.

“Our success during the With Illinois campaign is a testament to the thousands of people behind our program, providing our coaches, student-athletes and staff with the resources to strive for excellence every day,” said UI Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “We were fortunate to receive some of the most significant gifts in Illinois Athletics history during the campaign; the biggest donations have garnered the most public attention, but every gift, no matter the size, has been appreciated and has made a difference in our ability to pursue championships while fulfilling our educational mission.

“On a personal level, it has been extremely rewarding to form genuine friendships with Illini across the country, breaking bread with them, sitting in their living rooms and listening to the University of Illinois transform their lives. On behalf of my colleagues here at Illinois Athletics, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for entrusting us with your memories, your resources and your passion. Special thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Howard Milton, for his exceptional leadership throughout the campaign and his entire development team who worked tirelessly, listened carefully and thoughtfully connected with donors around the world. This campaign may be over, but our work is far from over and we look forward to continuing to connect with our Illini family to advance the interests of Fighting Illini Athletics. Thanks to all!”

Whitman’s first six years at the helm of the DIA have been synchronized with the public launch and execution of the campus-wide campaign. Working with Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director and Chief Development Officer Howard Milton and more than 20 fundraising professionals at the Office of Athletic Development, Whitman, Milton, and their colleagues planned and executed an aggressive fundraising campaign that eventually generated donations of $1 million or more to meet the goal of 45 to surpass $300 million.

“I thank the thousands of donors who believed and trusted in our fundraising team,” Milton said. “Exceeding our $300 million goal would never have been possible without generous donor support and institutional leadership. I firmly believe that Josh’s ability to inspire philanthropic support is the primary reason we have been so incredibly successful across campus exceeding his capital campaign goals. Vice Chancellor, Institutional Advancement Barry Benson and his entire leadership team, along with the vision of University of Illinois Foundation President Jim Moore, have helped this world-renowned university reach heights never before thought possible. Nobody does this work alone. It takes the whole Ilini family.”

Much of the campaign’s focus promoted an ambitious facilities agenda. Two projects were the focus of the efforts. The first renovation of the assembly hall into what is now known as the State Farm Center cost $170 million and included what was then the most lucrative naming rights deal in collegiate athletics history. The State Farm Center was officially rededicated in the fall of 2016. The second project was the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center, a $79.2 million, 110,000 square foot home for Illinois Football that was officially dedicated in October 2019. Other projects include Demirjian Park, the new home for Illinois’ soccer and track and field programs, which opened in Spring 2021 for $20 million; the Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center ($8 million); and the Rex and Alice A. Martin Softball Training Center ($6 million), both opening this summer. Also in 2021, work began on the renovation and expansion of the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility, a $40 million project due for completion in fall 2022.

To support Illinois’ nationally recognized men’s and women’s golf programs, Whitman orchestrated the acquisition of the former Stone Creek Golf Club as part of a multifaceted $15 million real estate gift to the university from longtime friends of Illinois Athletics, the Atkins family . The course, now renamed the Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois, has undergone a major renovation using funds from an anonymous $5 million donation to provide Illinois Golf with a championship-quality home that debuts reopened this spring.

The campaign total was raised with more than 117,000 different gifts from more than 26,000 different donors in 49 states and 11 other countries. During the campaign, DIA raised more than $30 million in new business for five consecutive years, including three consecutive years that exceeded $40 million. More than $71 million has been used for scholarship support for student athletes, while 41 new scholarship foundations have been created.

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