The University of Delaware has reached 80 percent of its goal in upgrading Delaware Stadium and building new training facilities.
The announcement of the project and the fund-raising effort was made during the Blue Hen’s game on Saturday and later posted on the athletic department’s website.
The stadium would get a majorupgrade that will include chair seating, new facilities for athletes as well as skyboxes and a modern press area.
The stadium project would address long-running criticism of the lack of upgrades at the stadium at a time when UD opponents were upgrading their facilities. The story from UD Athletics noted that UD the last university in the Colonial Athletic Conference to upgrade its stadium and facilities.
Delaware alum Ken Whitney, ’80, and his wife, Liz Whitney, made a lead gift of $10 million to name the Whitney Athletic Center, pushing the total individual commitments towards this campaign to $23 million and marking the largest individual gift in Delaware Athletics history.
Whitney, a UD Board of Trustees member, and his wife previously established the Whitney Family Scholarship Endowment and the Whitney Family Endowed Chair in the Lerner College of Business and Economics in 2011.
The announcement comes after UD launched the Delaware First fund-raising campaign that aims to raise three-quarters of a billion dollars. That figure included athletic department upgrades.
The announcement also marks a change of direction for UD under new President Dennis Assanis. Assanis’ predecessor Patrick Harker had put the brakes on athletic upgrades in favor of fitness areas for students and related facilities.
Student surveys had given athletic facilities a lower priority than fitness centers and other amenities.
Meanwhile, Blue Hen fans were unhappy about price increases and other charges for season ticket holders without improvements.
The UD football and men’s basketball programs also went through a rough patch.
The decisions quashed rumors of a stadium across the highway from Delaware Stadium at the STAR Campus, the former Chrysler plant location.