PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 10, 2016) – The Rutgers University Division of Athletics today announced that “R B1G Build,” a comprehensive campaign launched on Jan. 20 to raise $100 million for new or upgraded facilities, has surpassed the $50 million milestone. The initiative has received 10 donations of more than $1 million, including the three largest gifts in Rutgers Athletics history, which combine to exceed $11 million.
The record-setting major gifts were provided by Chairman of the Rutgers Board of Governors and Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown and his wife Anna, noted real estate developer Steven Plofker and makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, and business leaders and philanthropists Jeff and Amy Towers.
“This generous support will help meet critical needs for our student-athletes to successfully compete in the nation’s premier academic and athletic conference,” said Rutgers Director of Athletics Patrick Hobbs. “We are very grateful to all those who have contributed, especially Greg and Anna Brown, Steven Plofker and Bobbi Brown and Jeff and Amy Towers for their unwavering belief in our mission. Having supporters who not only understand what it takes to compete on an elite level, but provide the resources to help lead us there, is integral to our success. They also hope that their support will inspire others to reach at this critical time.
“We have come a long way in ‘R B1G Build,’ but there’s much work ahead. It’s incredibly energizing to witness the Rutgers community coming together in support of its student-athletes. I look forward to our continued success as we accomplish our goals together.”
“I am impressed, but not at all surprised, by the fundraising progress made thus far,” said Rutgers President Dr. Robert Barchi. “Pat Hobbs is an engaging leader with the ability to project our shared vision for Big Ten success. The support of benefactors, whether it be academic or athletic, is essential to University growth. Rutgers is very appreciative of the giving it receives in support of its more than 600 student-athletes.”
Phase I of The Big Ten Build, created in collaboration with the University Physical Master Plan, includes three projects: a Multisport Training Complex adjacent to the Rutgers Athletic Center, a Lacrosse, Soccer and Tennis Training Complex, and an enhanced Football Training Complex at the Hale Center. These pivotal projects will result in additional square feet of critical training space and will have a dramatic and wide-ranging impact on all 24 programs and on the more than 600 student-athletes who represent Rutgers on a national stage.
The decision was made to launch this campaign after Governor Christie signed the legislation granting $25 million of tax credits toward the Multisport Training Complex. These tax credits, combined with the $29.3 million raised to date, put this initiative well on its way to completion.
Brown and his wife Anna have been longtime supporters of Rutgers University academics and athletics. The chairman and chief executive officer of Motorola Solutions, Inc., Brown joined Motorola in January 2003 and became CEO in January 2008. He serves as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and is also chair of Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. He is a member of the executive committee of the Business Roundtable. Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Rutgers and serves as chair of the University’s Board of Governors. Anna is the granddaughter of Henry and Anna Starr, who founded the Rutgers University Psychological Clinic in 1929.
”Rutgers is a leading national University and we want to compete for championships in all that we do,” said Greg Brown. “It is essential that we capitalize on the opportunity that Big Ten Conference membership provides us. Improved facilities are a priority. There is an increased excitement for Rutgers, both regionally and nationally. With continued engagement and commitment, we will ensure a very productive future for our athletics program and its student-athletes.”
Plofker is a real estate developer, business owner, and attorney. With his wife, Bobbi, he founded Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, now a division of Estee Lauder Inc. Steven earned his B.A from Rutgers University (1978), a MCP from Harvard University (1980) and a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law (1993). Bobbi is a graduate of Emerson College (1979).
“It is an exciting time at Rutgers,” said Plofker. “Bobbi and I have great confidence in the leadership of the University and the athletics program. As an alumnus and fan, I’m very optimistic about our future. We hope that our commitment will inspire others.”
“The energy and positive momentum at Rutgers and its athletic program is awesome,” said Bobbi Brown. “We are proud to support the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence. Attending Rutgers is a tremendous opportunity and Steven and I want to ensure that our students have a great college experience.”
The Towers are no strangers to fundraising or supporting community efforts. Jeff has spent more than 30 years leading robust fundraising campaigns at some of the largest nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Amy spent 14 years in the financial sector, before turning her efforts to philanthropic endeavors intended to affect sustainable change and protecting the human rights of people, especially those in conflict countries.
“This is a pivotal moment in history for Rutgers Athletics,” said Jeff Towers. “Membership in the Big Ten provides Rutgers the platform to tap into the riches of the largest sports and media market in America. As the only Power 5 program in this region, Rutgers has every reason to be optimistic about its chances to field championship teams in every sport. That won’t happen, however, without the facilities student-athletes need to train at a championship level. The Big Ten Build Campaign represents a paradigm shift for Rutgers Athletics and is an opportunity for the Rutgers Nation to build a program it can be proud of. As rabid college sports fans who have come to love Rutgers, Amy and I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without doing our part in getting this campaign off to a great start.”
“As a third generation graduate of a Big Ten University, and having experienced the transformational change of the Barry Alvarez years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I understand how important championship sports teams are to not only raising a university’s profile, but in creating a strong sense of engagement and pride for students and alumni alike,” said Amy Towers.
The Big Ten Build will provide state-of-the-art practice centers for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, volleyball, and gymnastics, as well as key support areas for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer and tennis.
These facilities will meet a crucial need for high-performance training, exceptional academic support, first-class sports medicine, and critical shared pathways that will support a championship culture at Rutgers.
Swimming news courtesy of Rutgers Athletics.