UC’s Fifth Third Arena Project Receives Largest Gift to Date

UC alumni Margaret and Michael Valentine give $5M to lead project

CINCINNATI – November 7, 2016 – University of Cincinnati alumni Margaret “Peg” Valentine, A&S, Ed ‘71, and Michael “Mike” Valentine, CEAS ’73, have given $5 million to benefit the Fifth Third Arena renovation project – the largest gift to the project to date. The $87-million, privately-funded renovation is expected to be completed in fall 2018 with major construction beginning in March 2017.

“Mike and I are grateful that we are able to give back to our alma mater; to make a difference by investing in students and faculty,” said Margaret Valentine. “Sports provide much to an academic institution such as UC. Great facilities serve all students. The Fifth Third Arena renovation will enhance and transform the student-athlete and game-day experience.”

The announcement of the lead gift was made November 3, during UC Athletics’ 16th Annual Legion of Excellence Gala. The Valentines are the largest athletics donors in UC history.

“With this remarkable gift, Peg and Mike Valentine are once again demonstrating how generous and supportive they are of the University of Cincinnati. They are ardent fans and alumni who faithfully attend our sporting events to cheer on the Bearcats,” said UC Interim President Beverly J. Davenport. “Their love of UC has also been shown with innumerable hours devoted in service to the university’s betterment, including Peg’s current term as a member of our Board of Trustees. We appreciate their dedication and devotion to UC.”

Proposed improvements to the facility include a new 360-degree seating bowl, new HD scoreboard, ribbon boards, sound system, an LED lighting system, new restroom and concession facilities, a new upper-level concourse, expanded food and beverage options and a new main entrance and plaza with centralized ticketing and guest services. The renovated arena also will feature upgraded locker rooms, expanded premium seating options, including a courtside club, arena club and concourse club as well as enclosed suites, loge seating, a new Bearcats Lounge and super suites.

“Peg and Mike have made incredible contributions to the University of Cincinnati, of course through their generous financial gifts, but also with gifts of time and passion. They are true champions, a pillar at both the university and throughout the community of Cincinnati, and we are grateful and humbled to have their support,” said UC Foundation President Rodney Grabowski.

Fifth Third Arena was built in 1989 and originally named the Myrl H. Shoemaker Center. It serves as home to both the Bearcats men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams. The teams’ home events will be conducted off campus during the 2017-18 season while construction is underway.

“All of us associated with the University of Cincinnati should be inspired by Peg and Mike,” Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said. “Their leadership and support to athletics and the University as a whole has been critical to our growth and success. This lead gift to the project is a game changer, it adds to the onward momentum at UC and indicates the depth, support and love the Valentines have for our great institution.”


About the University of Cincinnati Foundation

Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and is the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. The foundation supports UC’s aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center, UC Health and other units to maximize private support. The foundation’s advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, please visit uc.edu/foundation.

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