LARAMIE — Casper 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, 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 multimillion-dollar gift received in the past five weeks for this project — the first was a $10 million commitment from Marian H. Rochelle to name the Gateway Center.
The McMurry donation was announced at a special luncheon on Wednesday.
“The last 10 or 12 years, this university has been completely transitioned and rebuilt,” Mick McMurry said. “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.”
The combined giving of the McMurry and Rochelle families has surpassed $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,” UW President Tom Buchanan said. “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 three-story wall of windows, the McMurry Family Grand Atrium will welcome visitors at 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 interactive experience for visitors of the university’s history and traditions. It will tell the story of the University of Wyoming — from the founding in 1886 through its present and into the institution’s future — through dynamic and flexible visuals, including video and digital displays.
The impact of Wyoming’s energy industry in advancing the state and UW will be celebrated in a permanent exhibition.
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.