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Vanderbilt launches historic $300 million investment campaign for athletics

Mar. 29, 2021, 10:30 AM

University to invest $100 million, with an additional $100 million in donor commitments already secured; funds will support major facilities, operational enhancements

Vanderbilt University today publicly launched the Vandy United Fund, an ambitious fundraising vehicle that will invest $300 million in Vanderbilt’s student-athletes and athletics programs through major facilities and operational enhancements.

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier (John Russell/Vanderbilt)
Chancellor Daniel Diermeier (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Since the initial quiet phase of the campaign began in the fall, Vanderbilt has already identified $200 million toward the $300 million goal, with a $100 million commitment from the university, $90 million from anonymous donors and a $10 million lead gift from John R. Ingram, a Board of Trust member and longtime supporter of Vanderbilt Athletics. Now Vanderbilt is reaching out to the broader university community to help support the future of Vanderbilt athletics.

“As the largest undertaking of its kind in Vanderbilt Athletics’ history, the Vandy United Fund represents a bold step for Vanderbilt athletics and the promise of an even brighter future,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “This is our moment to turn the page, together, and start a new chapter for Vanderbilt athletics, for our student-athletes and for our many supporters. This is our opportunity to make good on the promise and potential of Vanderbilt athletics by investing in our student-athletes and providing a better fan experience, today and in the future, and creating an environment where our student-athletes can thrive and compete to win, now and for decades to come.”

The Vandy United Fund will address both student-athlete and fan needs by transforming key facilities, offering improved fan amenities, broadening opportunities for community engagement, and making Vanderbilt home to the best student-athlete experience in college sports.

Candice Storey Lee, interim vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and interim athletic director (Vanderbilt University)
Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director (Vanderbilt University)

“The Vandy United Fund will help create an exceptional environment for our student-athletes and will enrich the broader Vanderbilt and Nashville communities,” said Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director. “Thanks to Chancellor Diermeier’s partnership, we are moving forward in a way that will truly transform Vanderbilt athletics. We are so grateful to John Ingram and the generous donors who have stepped up to support our student-athletes and provide the opportunity for them to succeed in all areas. We are eager to turn our vision into reality and get all of Commodore Nation involved in this effort.”

The Vandy United Fund will invest in new facilities and upgrades to provide student-athletes with every ability to maximize their full potential. These investments will include:

  • Football Operations Center

This facility will house team-specific needs, such as meeting rooms, offices, training room, expanded locker room and more.

  • Expanded McGugin Center

The renovation will benefit all teams and include a new Sports Performance Center.

  • Indoor Football Practice Facility

This will include a full-length practice field adjacent to outdoor practice fields.

  • Basketball Operations Center

This facility will include team-specific needs for men’s and women’s basketball, including dedicated practice courts, a weight room, locker rooms, offices and more.

  • Upgraded Stadium Fan Experience

Improvements will include premium seating options, hospitality space, upgraded food and beverage options and other fan amenities.

“Each of these projects is a significant undertaking in its own right; taken together, they catapult Vanderbilt’s ability to enhance success on and off the field for all of our student-athletes,” Lee said.

“We also want to deepen our relationship with our dedicated fans, including our proud alumni,” Lee said. “They deserve this investment as well, and we appreciate their passion and patience. While we prioritize building an infrastructure that directly and immediately impacts our student-athletes’ experience, we will also improve the fan experience with tangible upgrades, starting in Vanderbilt Stadium. More information about those upgrades will be announced throughout the summer.”

Vanderbilt worked with Perkins&Will on the strategic planning phase of the facilities plan and has selected Populous as the master architect. Populous is an award-winning global architecture and design firm specializing in creating environments and venues that draw communities and people together. With more than 3,000 projects in its portfolio, Populous has designed Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games and collegiate athletics venues, stadiums, training facilities and more.

Design is underway, and Vanderbilt will unveil further details and renderings of the first phase of facility projects in summer 2021. Construction on the football operations center and the basketball operations center is expected to begin after the conclusion of the 2021 football season.

“This is an exciting time for Vanderbilt athletics,” Ingram said. “I’m proud to be one of the initial donors to this fund because I believe in the vision and the leadership of this program. The future is bright for our Commodores.”

Diermeier and Lee will host a series of town hall-style listening sessions for Vanderbilt faculty members this spring. All faculty are invited to participate and discuss how the Vandy United initiative will continue to deliver academic excellence while promoting a holistic student-athlete experience, as well as create opportunities for alumni and community engagement. More information about these listening sessions will be communicated at a later time.

To learn more about the Vandy United Fund and find out how to get involved, visit vucommodores.com/vandyunited.

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