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$6 Million McMurry Gift Supports Gateway Center

With their $6 million gift toward the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, Susie and Mick McMurry join the Rochelle family as the two largest private supporters in the institution’s 126-year history. (UW Photo)

Philanthropists and entrepreneurs Mick and Susie McMurry have contributed a $6 million leadership gift toward the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The gift was announced at a special luncheon today (Wednesday).

The gift, made through the McMurry Foundation, will support the McMurry Family UW Legacy Hall and the Grand Atrium in the Gateway Center. It is the second multi-million-dollar gift received in the last five weeks for this project — the first was a historic $10 million commitment from Marian H. Rochelle to name the Gateway Center.

“The last 10 or 12 years, this university has been completely transitioned and rebuilt,” says Mick McMurry. “We’re proud of being part of it. Thanks to the energy production and energy development that Wyoming is so good at, we have $700 million or more in new facilities that’s all paid for. There are not too many universities in America that can make that statement.”

“Mickey and I have been fortunate enough to be part of that Wyoming story,” adds Susie McMurry. “We both were born and raised in Wyoming. We’re both honored and proud to be part of the University of Wyoming’s success. This is where we live, this is the place we love, and we will always be supporters of the University of Wyoming — for not only our children but for all the children in Wyoming.”

The combined giving of the McMurry and Rochelle families has now surpassed an extraordinary $37 million, making them the two largest UW private supporters in the institution’s 126-year history.

“The McMurry family has once again stepped up to support a major initiative of UW,” says UW President Tom Buchanan. “We continue to be inspired by their willingness to support UW and appreciate their ongoing generosity as individuals and as a family.”

Surrounded by a dramatic three-story wall of windows, the McMurry Family Grand Atrium will welcome visitors as UW’s front door, functioning as the Gateway Center’s central hub. With its wide-open, welcoming aesthetics and prominent university displays and exhibits, it will serve as a gathering place and event space for students, alumni, prospective employers, industry leaders, and all of UW’s other internal and external constituencies.

The McMurry Family UW Legacy Hall will be the new building’s most visited space, creating an

This is an artist’s rendering of the McMurry Family UW Legacy Hall and the Grand Atrium in the University of Wyoming’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. (Courtesy of UW)

interactive experience for visitors of the university’s proud history and traditions. It will tell the story of the University of Wyoming — from the founding in 1886 through its vibrant present and on into the institution’s bright future — through dynamic and flexible visuals, including video and digital displays.

“The lifestyle that the world enjoys is all because of hydrocarbons and coal,” says Mick McMurry. “Like it or not, we all depend upon those. We can’t live our standard of living without them. Wyoming was very blessed millions of years ago to have all that resource in the ground, but without the efforts of mankind, they were just things in the ground. So we’ve taken coal and uranium and oil and gas and we’ve added value to them, made products out of them we all use and require. In our personal lives, we’ve been very blessed 20 years ago to have been discovered by Jonah Field.”

Within these spaces, the impact of Wyoming’s energy industry in advancing Wyoming and UW will be celebrated in a permanent exhibition. The McMurry family has played a pioneering role in the public-private partnership between the state and its university and the energy industry — a vital collaboration that ensures the economic future of Wyoming.

“The McMurry gift will help make the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center the hub of a vast network of UW students, alums and friends — which will help students make full use of their degrees and launch successful careers,” says Clayton Hartman, UW Foundation Board of Directors chair. “The McMurrys have always been passionate supporters of the university, and the UW Foundation Board of Directors is so grateful for their continued commitment to the state of Wyoming and the university.”

“Once again the McMurrys have made a remarkable gift to Wyoming’s university,” says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president. “They continue to give in such important ways. Their gifts are consistently transformational. The Gateway Center will be an exciting building that will clearly define for all who enter what makes the University of Wyoming truly remarkable.”

The 60,000-plus-square-foot Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center will be located on the corner of 22nd Street and Grand Avenue near War Memorial Stadium. It will be funded completely through private support. Construction is scheduled to begin in late spring 2013, with the facility planned to open in the fall of 2014.

The facility will be a multi-use location with a state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, small and large meeting rooms, and public and social event spaces. It will be a place for prospective students and families to enter the university, for gatherings of current students, for alumni to arrive and celebrate the history and traditions of their alma mater, for friends to participate in the university’s programs and for employers to interview and recruit UW students.

The project, a partnership among the UW Foundation, UW Alumni Association, the UW Center for Advising and Career Services and UW Admissions, will contain office and collaborative space for these units as they support and promote the university.

The facility is being designed by Cheyenne-based Pappas & Pappas Architects, P.C., and DLR Group, an integrated design firm with offices across the United States. The national branding firm Advent, LLC, whose high-profile projects include University of Southern California, University of Texas, and Texas Tech, will design exhibit and museum spaces in the center. The construction manager at risk is Wyoming- and Colorado-based Haselden Construction.

To learn more about the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center and to see renderings of the building, go to www.uwyo.edu/foundation/gateway-center.

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