Duke athletics gets second $10 million gift

Dec. 13, 2012 @ 07:01 PM

 For the second time in two months, Duke University’s athletics department has received a $10 million gift — the largest donation the department has ever received.

University trustee David Rubenstein, who has made a habit recently of donating large sums to his alma mater, said he was making this gift to athletics “because of the program's commitment to academic achievement and excellence.”

Rubenstein’s donation follows on the heels of a $10 million gift in October to the department by Steven and Rebecca Scott, who designated their money to help support activities and programs in a new building that will house ticket offices, a team store, training rooms and other functions.

“Within several weeks of one another, we received transformative gifts — previously unmatched in Duke athletics history — that will certainly have an enduring and substantive impact on all Blue Devil student-athletes, coaches, alumni, fans and staff,” said Athletics Director Kevin White. Rubenstein’s “latest financial investment in Duke signifies his unwavering belief that athletics plays a pivotal role in the incredible spirit found here.”

The new gift will support the priorities of Duke athletics outlined in Duke Forward, the $3.25 billion university-wide fundraising campaign launched publicly in September.

Those priorities include major upgrades to Wallace Wade Stadium, including removing the track and ultimately increasing the capacity to 44,000 while dramatically changing the look of the 83-year-old facility. Plans are to lower the playing field and add more seats, creating a more intimate bowl around the field.

The complex’s current Finch-Yeager building, which houses a sports medicine office and doubles as the press box and party facilities for Iron Dukes booster club members on football game days would be replaced by a new structure with at least 20 permanent luxury suites.

Plans also call for a new track-only stadium, adding amenities to Cameron Indoor Stadium and relocating two athletics practice fields.

In the past few years, Rubenstein has made a series of significant gifts to Duke.

In May, he donated $15 million to serve as a catalyst for the university's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. Last year, he gave $13.6 million to the Duke University Libraries in support of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, which now bears his name.

In 2009, Rubenstein donated $5.75 million to help the Sanford School of Public Policy meet a $40 million fundraising target for its transition from an institute to Duke's 10th school. And in 2002, he contributed $5 million toward the completion of Sanford's Rubenstein Hall.

"The breadth of David Rubenstein's interests at Duke is matched only by the depth of his generosity," said Duke University President Richard Brodhead. “We are grateful for the many extraordinary ways he has supported Duke’s highest priorities and enriched the student experience.”