WMU News

National City announces $2 million cash gift

May 3, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business and varsity athletic teams are the principal beneficiaries of a $2 million gift from National City Bank of Michigan/Illinois. The gift, which will be made over the next several years, is among the larger cash contributions by a corporation in the University's history.

According to John Schreuder, president of National City Bank, Southwest Michigan Region, "As a corporate citizen in West Michigan, National City has a long history of helping those organizations that work to strengthen our region. We believe this contribution is not only an opportunity to invest in our hometown, but also a way to enhance the excellent academic and athletic traditions of this university."

Schreuder continued, "Western Michigan University is critical to the continued growth of our community. It provides a superior pool of talent to satisfy the region's employers as well as helping to create new jobs through its research and development efforts."

The business college at WMU will receive $1.5 million to establish the National City Endowed Chair in Finance and Commercial Law. Income from endowed chairs provides supplemental faculty support for research and scholarship.

"National City's generosity will have lasting benefits for our University," said WMU President Elson S. Floyd. "Faculty endowments allow the University to retain and recruit outstanding faculty members. These teachers, scholars, artists and researchers have demonstrated exceptional contributions to their disciplines, and they are highly sought after by many universities."

Floyd noted that the benefits of the new endowed chair go beyond the business college. "It will further enhance our University's overall reputation," Floyd said, "which will help stimulate partnership opportunities for research and other public-private ventures throughout the University."

"The contribution to our athletic program also addresses a priority need of our University," said Floyd. "We are grateful to National City for its continuing support."

National City also designated $500,000 of the total gift to help fund the new Donald "J" Seelye Athletic Center, the University's first indoor practice facility for baseball, football, golf, soccer and softball. Construction on the Seelye Center is expected to begin later this year.

According to Kathy Beauregard, WMU director of intercollegiate athletics, the new indoor practice facility will benefit all 20 varsity sports, because it will greatly reduce overcrowding in existing facilities, notably Read Fieldhouse. WMU is the only NCAA Division I program in Michigan that does not already have an indoor practice facility for football, said Beauregard.

"Completion of the Seelye Center," said Beauregard, "will allow our teams to be more competitive on the playing field and in terms of recruiting top student-athletes."

In addition to indoor practice space for three men's (baseball, football, soccer) and three women's (golf, soccer, softball) varsity sports, the 120,000 square-foot Seelye Center will contain coaches offices, locker rooms, and a weight/exercise room, among other features.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 616 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400