GameAbove donates $8 million to build and operate EMU golf facility

By Denis Wolcott / EMU

YPSILANTI – GameAbove this week announced an $8 million gift to build a state-of-the art golf training facility to support EMU’s championship collegiate program. The new facility will be named “The GameAbove Golf Performance Center” – dedicated to Bruce Cunningham, EMU men’s golf coach.

The capital program was approved today by EMU’s Board of Regents, meaning construction is expected to start in the spring and a new facility could be operational by the end of 2020.

GameAbove’s investment, which will include $6 million to $6.5 million toward construction and the remainder for 12 years of operational costs, enables the men’s and women’s golf teams to continue to compete at the highest level and further enhances the University’s recruitment capabilities for the Division 1 program. EMU’s men’s golf team, for example, won the Mid-American Conference championship this year.

“A truly exceptional golf program deserves the best equipment and facilities to remain competitive in today’s collegiate experience,” said GameAbove spokesperson Denis Wolcott. “The group of dedicated Eastern Michigan University alumni who are behind GameAbove is excited and proud to further enhance the total academic and scholastic environment at EMU.

“We also are honoring the incredible 27 years of coaching excellence by Bruce Cunningham. Bruce has truly built and guided one of the best collegiate golf programs in the conference,” Wolcott said.

The new facility, to be built on West Campus, will serve as the indoor training site for the University’s men’s and women’s golf teams. The facility will encompass approximately 15,000 sq. ft. and include locker rooms, offices, indoor putting and chipping, and simulators to support both indoor and outdoor training. This facility will allow the golf teams to train at a high level, even during inclement weather.

As part of today’s announcement, GameAbove will deposit its gift into a donor-advised fund dedicated for the new golf facility. Additionally, after the first 12 years of operation, there is an option to extend donations for operating expenses for another eight years.

“This third gift in one month from GameAbove further demonstrates the organization’s deep commitment to supporting the excellence of our University and our students,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Rhonda Longworth. “We are extremely grateful for this outstanding group of alumni and their desire to positively impact Eastern Michigan University.

“Our men’s and women’s golf programs are highly respected, and this gift provides the foundation to take the programs to the next level – with facilities that will allow our students to compete with the best in the country,” Longworth said. “At the same time, we are pleased to have already initiated processes to provide our faculty and students with access to the funds from the initial $3.5 million gift under the “Faculty First and “Students Matter Most” initiatives developed by GameAbove.”

The “Faculty First” initiative announced in November supports a range of faculty development endeavors. The “Student Matter Most” initiatve focuses on providing financial resources for learning clubs, intramural sports, student government and student organization priorities, as well as solutions for student homelessness and housing insecurity, among other near-term needs.

About The GameAbove

At The GameAbove, our primary focus is to help shape, inspire and support the current and future students of Eastern Michigan University by reaching new heights in learning through transformation and inspiration in the educational experience. Together, we will strive for that next level of success with a GameAbove all others. The GameAbove family of organizations will also help improve the higher education experience by exploring and supporting the use of innovative financial models to sustain universities, creative giving within the community, enhancing the campus environment, elevating athletics and promoting pioneering academic programs.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University’s website.