The day Wake Forest facilities changed forever. It was February 4, 2015 and several key Wake Forest football supporters including Prentiss Baker, Alan Fox, Bob McCreary, Gaither Keener, Ben Sutton and Carl Tucker, among others, were gathered for a status update on the football program. Little did everyone know, this day in February would forever change the course of Wake Forest Athletics.
At the time, ground had been broken months earlier on the $21 million McCreary Field House. This group, among others, had contributed an extraordinarily generous $28 million toward McCreary Field House and the next major phase of this project—the Sports Performance Center. However, we were still $30 million short of breaking ground on the Sports Performance Center which seemed daunting and perhaps out of reach of our development efforts.
Little did everyone know, Bob McCreary—who had already contributed $7.5 million toward the Sports Performance Center—and Ben Sutton—who had contributed $10 million—had met privately prior to this meeting.
At the conclusion of the meeting—with us approximately $20 million short of our overall goal of $58 million toward the Sports Performance Center—Bob and Ben made an announcement that literally shook the room.
“We [Bob McCreary and Ben Sutton] are firmly committed to Wake Forest Athletics and the need for the Sports Performance Center. We have thought long and hard and are willing to step up another level to further demonstrate this support and lead others toward the successful conclusion of this effort. Therefore, if Wake Forest can raise $20 million toward the Sports Performance Center by March 2016, we plan to match an additional $10 million.” Ben Sutton announced.
Jaws dropped in amazement of the generosity and commitment of Bob and Ben toward Developing Champions at Wake Forest.
I remember looking over at Ron Wellman and others around the room and seeing everyone’s similar reaction: speechlessness. This level of support was transformational for Wake Forest and would allow us to complete the next phase of this project years before we thought possible through fundraising support alone.
Our staff and others walked out of that room with a spring in our step and with an intense focus to reach this full match level, requiring us to raise $20 million over the course of the next nine months.
From February 2015 to October 2015, our efforts have remarkably resulted in another approximately $10 million in new commitments, getting us approximately halfway toward our goal of $20 million.
At the Homecoming football game on October 3, we announced the Sports Performance Center Match Campaign, publicly launching our efforts to raise the final $10 million to achieve the entire match and break ground on the Sports Performance Center in June 2016. The match campaign is focused on the the call to action of “Lets Get Ready to Roll” as everyone needs to start stocking up their toilet paper because Championships are coming for Wake Forest Athletics.
It is now time for all of us to join Bob and Ben and make our contributions to the Sports Performance Center. I have personally made my commitment to this effort and ask for your support as well. So, Wake Forest, let’s get ready to roll!
For more information on the Sports Performance Center Match Campaign, please click here.