Updated: 09/03/2014 5:07 PM
Created: 09/03/2014 5:44 AM KSTP.com
The University of Minnesota will receive $25 million in donations and sponsorships from Land O'Lakes to support academic and athletic programs.
The Arden Hills-based cooperative announced the commitment Tuesday. The university hosted Land O'Lakes leaders during an event Wednesday to celebrate the donation.
The company says $15 million of the commitment will fund a new 60,000-square-foot athletic center. Land O'Lakes will have naming rights, and it's expected to open in 2016. The $190 million athletic center will be anchored by a “Center for Excellence” housing academic, dining and leadership development programs.
“It’s one of the largest corporate gifts the university has every received,” U of M President Eric Kaler said. “It’s a great kick-off for our athletics fundraising, and it’s got a nice balance between academics and athletics dollars.”
We’re fortunate, you know, we have such a robust corporate climate and to get them involved has been great, and we’re in discussions with others…response has been greater than I thought it would be,” Gophers Athletic Director Norwood Teague said.
Teague says $40 million has been raised so far. The master plan for the new athletics village includes an indoor practice field, weight room and the offices for football, as well as a combined facility for men’s and women’s basketball.
The donation will also fund programs in departments and colleges including the food and agriculture college, management school and science and engineering college. The company says the money will be provided from 2015 through 2024.
Kaler says partnerships with local businesses are key for students' success and for the state's economy.
The Associated Press Contributed to this story.