'Duke Forward' campaign pledges $250 mil for athletic facility improvements

One of Duke Forward’s goals is to complete Wallace Wade’s bowl, upping the seating capacity to 44,000.
One of Duke Forward’s goals is to complete Wallace Wade’s bowl, upping the seating capacity to 44,000.

The University has set fundraising for athletics and athletic facilities as one of its priorities in the Duke Forward capital campaign launched this Saturday.

In the next five years, Duke hopes to raise $250 million for athletics, which represents about 7.5 percent of the campaign’s overall $3.25 billion goal. The funds raised will fund renovations to Wallace Wade Stadium and Cameron Indoor Stadium as well as the construction of a new track and field facility. The athletic department, particularly men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, is playing a key role in fundraising for the University overall. Krzyzewski spoke at the Duke Forward launch gala at Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday evening.

“I’m going to give my efforts as much as I can, so that we not only raise this amount of money, but we can raise more,” he said. “It’s not just about raising money, it’s how we’re going to use it. Duke, with all of its resources and all of its talent and all of its teamwork, will use it better than any university... because we are as good as anybody but we’re hungrier than anybody. We want to make a difference, and this campaign is part of that difference.”

He received the night’s only standing ovation.

Comparing Duke’s progress to the evolution of Duke men’s basketball, Krzyzewski noted Duke’s ability to turn dreams into realities with an end in mind. He paralleled Duke’s strategic goals with Duke basketball’s journey from three consecutive losing seasons to 11 Final Four appearances and four NCAA championships. Despite its successes and national spotlight, Duke cannot be satisfied with the status quo.

“It’s not enough,” he said. “We need to be bigger leaders.”

He implored gala attendees, including Duke’s Trustees and distinguished donors, to invest in Duke’s promising future and leave a legacy.

“We’re not as good as we can be, and that’s basically what the campaign is all about,” he said. “If you have the ability to be better, then it is your responsibility to become better—that’s why the campaign has set such lofty goals.”

Krzyzewski addressed the audience as the “key players” in reaching the campaign goals and moving Duke forward. He similarly noted the need for “closers,” who can step up with significant support just as his players come through in the clutch. One recent philanthropic success in athletics, Krzyzewski said, is the successful endowment of the men’s basketball scholarships, manager and coaching positions. This project had been 12 years in the making and was fulfilled last week.

He characterized Duke basketball as a “window into the University” that acts as a gateway to attract initial interest and draw people in to explore the inner workings, whether medical innovations or scholarly research.

“I help open some doors. It’s been an honor for me to do that,” he said. “I want you to know that my family and I love Duke.”

Krzyewski’s involvement is a testament to Duke’s unique ability to bring disparate parts of a university together, Trustee David Rubenstein, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and Trinity ’70, said in an interview.

“To have one of the best known people at Duke connected and involved in the campaign—it’s a sign that the campaign has started off very well,” said Rubenstein, who is also co-chair of Duke Forward.

Rubenstein introduced Krzyzewski at the gala Saturday, noting Krzyzewski’s on- and off-court successes in terms of instilling leadership, citizenship and a sense of morals and ethics ideal of Duke graduates.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to coach, but I want to coach a while,” Krzyzewski said.

Renovations to Cameron Indoor Stadium are just one of a number of athletics-centric projects to be funded by the capital campaign. The University hopes to construct a new lobby, special access club, a “legacy room,” suites, new locker rooms, new coaches’ facilities and new public restrooms. The Finch-Yeager and Murray athletics buildings will also receive a facelift, including new weight rooms, locker rooms, ticket offices and luxury boxes.

Renovations to Wallace Wade Stadium are at the forefront of the capital plan. The track will be removed—and relocated to a new state-of-the-art track stadium—to bring fans closer to the field. Seating capacity will be extended to nearly 44,000 from the current 33,941 by completing the bowl at the stadium’s south end. The bathroom and concession facilities will also be renovated.

University leadership, including Board of Trustees Chair Richard Wagoner and President Richard Brodhead, underscored the importance of Wallace Wade renovations in building the fanbase and getting Duke football facilities on par with other top Division I programs.

“The plans on the athletic side are far from grandiose,” Wagoner said. “They’re the kind of things we need to do to have a first-class athletics program.”

Wagoner noted that he has recently received good feedback from vice president and director of athletics Kevin White with regard to the campaign kickoff.

Brodhead added that the timeline for construction is contingent upon when and how gifts fall into place. Construction could be done in phases or all at once.

“The campaign gives [White] a good runway to move as quickly as he can to be able to get something going in Wallace Wade,” Wagoner said.


Share and discuss “'Duke Forward' campaign pledges $250 mil for athletic facility improvements” on social media.