WMU News

Football center named for Bill Brown

June 26, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's new $8.2 million alumni football center has been named in honor of Willard A. (Bill) Brown of Chicago, a 1953 graduate of the University and an outstanding football player.

The WMU Board of Trustees approved the naming of the center at is June 26 meeting.

"Through Bill Brown's generous donation of time, ideas and personal resources, the WMU Foundation has been able to raise the funds needed to complete this major building project," said WMU President Diether H. Haenicke. "It's important to note that all funds have come from private sources.

"For this, we are deeply grateful, not only to Bill but also to all those who contributed to make this campaign a success," Haenicke continued. "Without a very broad base of support, we could not have achieved our goal."

"The Bill Brown Alumni Football Center at Waldo Stadium will provide WMU's coaches and student athletes with the facilities they need for the future," said Keith A. Pretty, vice president for external affairs and general counsel and president of the WMU Foundation. "These facilities are among the best in the country."

The 55,000-square-foot center includes entirely new locker rooms for visiting and home players; meeting rooms; facilities for training, strength and conditioning; and an auditorium seating 130 persons. The third-floor coaches offices also will be used for instruction and as suites on game days.

Other major donors to the campaign are Peter L. and Elizabeth J. Aseritis, Robert J. Bobb, First of America Bank, Lloyd E. and Nancy Gearhart, Haworth Inc., William D. Johnson and Ronda E. Stryker, Kalleward-Bergerson Charitable Foundation Inc., Judith L. and William J. Maze Jr., Jim and Consuelo McKinley, John A. and Lynnora A. Offerdahl, Dominic J. and Sharon L. Riggio, Orville F. and Linda A. Schneider, Tower Pinkster Titus Associates Inc., and James S. and Sheila D. Ware.

Brown was among the first WMU graduates to receive the newly offered bachelor's degree in business administration in 1953. He was a four-year member of the Bronco football team, lettering at halfback between 1950 and 1952, the year he was selected the team's most valuable player. He led the 1952 team in rushing, receptions and scoring.

Brown's career after WMU is equally impressive. In 1955, after completing service in the U.S. Air Force, he began a career with Rubloff Inc. of Chicago, one of nation's largest full-service real estate companies. He retired in 1996 as chair and chief executive officer.

His service to the University has been extensive. He has been a member of the WMU Foundation Board of Directors since 1983, serving as its chair from 1986 to 1989. He is a life member of the WMU Alumni Association. As WMU's 1992 Volunteer of the Year, he was cited for his role in the Chicago area campaign for the building that houses the University's Haworth College of Business.

Waldo Stadium was completed in 1939 with a seating capacity of 15,000 fans. It has been expanded several times to its current capacity of 30,200 fans. In 1995, facilities for the public were enhanced with improved seating, restrooms, concession stands and permanent lighting. The new John W. Gill Stadium Club provides bench seating for 3,300 fans and 750 chairback seats.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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