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January 10, 2024

UMaine gifted another $80M by Harold Alfond Foundation for athletic facility upgrades

With an $80 million gift announced Tuesday, the Harold Alfond Foundation is nearly doubling its financial support of athletics at the University of Maine.

The new donation will help pay for facility improvements on the Orono campus and benefit all 17 UMaine varsity sports programs, the school said in a news release.

Three years ago, in a $500 million series of contributions to the University of Maine System and other schools and organizations across the state, the Harold Alfond Foundation pledged $90 million to support UMaine athletic facility upgrades.

With the additional funds, the $170 million total represents one of the largest contributions ever to a college sports program, according to the release.

Courtesy / Harold Alfond Foundation
Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation

Greg Powell, executive chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, said, "In the tradition of our founder, the foundation is doubling down on the Black Bears with this additional grant. We are hugely excited to see the progress so far and confident our additional funding will finish the job. Our state's only Division I program and its terrific student-athletes, coaches and fans deserve nothing less."

UMaine will seek to raise another $18 million as a challenge match to the recent gift. The university had previously raised $20 million in gifts and pledges to help advance work on its athletic facilities master plan.

The new funding will go toward projects including a 4,900-square-foot expansion of Alfond Arena and a 13,000-square-foot addition to the Shawn Walsh Center, with renovated conditioning facilities, a new film room, recovery rooms, team offices, expanded locker rooms and team lounges.

The funding will also help with the construction of the Morse Arena, the future home of Maine men's and women's basketball, along with improvements to Mahaney Diamond and Mahaney Clubhouse; the expansion of bleachers and other upgrades at Alfond Stadium; and the replacement of the Mahaney Dome with a connector to Memorial Gymnasium.

Several phases of the master plan have been completed including a new softball facility, a new field hockey complex and a new turf surface on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium. Some facilities have also received new scoreboards and other new equipment.

In addition, UMaine is getting to work on a new sports complex for soccer and for track and field, funded by a recent $7 million gift from Boston sportswear company New Balance Athletics.

The school said planning and design is underway for future phases of the athletic facilities plan, and that its goal is to have all projects completed by the summer of 2028.

"Harold Alfond was visualizing and supporting greatness for UMaine Athletics before anyone else believed it was possible," said Jude Killy, UMaine director of athletics. "The Harold Alfond Foundation investment positions UMaine to fulfill our goal of being a top-five Division I athletic program in greater New England. Thanks to the foundation, this is all possible. Now it is our job to go make it a reality."

Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias, said, "The Harold Alfond Foundation's continued support of the University of Maine and UMaine athletics is unparalleled. This support will have a long-lasting impact on current and future student-athletes, and the entire UMaine community that will engage with these facilities."

Dannel Malloy, chancellor of the University of Maine System, added, "The University of Maine System is grateful for the generous support and enduring vision of the Harold Alfond Foundation, including this historic investment in University of Maine Athletics. As Maine's only Division I program, the Black Bears are a source of great pride for our entire state and their public facilities in Orono foster opportunity for all Mainers."

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