Tiger Athletics Announces Record Donation Level of $7.3 Million
June 28, 2010
MEMPHIS, TENN. -
University of Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson held a State of Tiger Athletics luncheon for members of the media as well as the Ambassador's Club in the Athletic Office Building Monday afternoon.
One of Johnson's main points of hosting the event was to announce that the Tiger Scholarship Fund has once again reached a record amount in donations, raising $7.3 million for 2009-10. This marks the fifth consecutive year that over $5 million has been collected by Tiger Athletics, and the 12th straight year of an increase in donations to the department.
"This is probably the most difficult year we faced just because of the economy," said Johnson. "Across the country, donations are down four percent. We've set records every year. We started this 15 years ago and the question was could we get to $1 million? Then, the goal was $5 million. Last year, we hit $7 million dollars and I am proud to say that this year, we set another record with $7.3 million."
The Tiger Scholarship Fund is the athletic department organization charged with raising scholarship dollars for U of M student-athletes. Monies raised by the Tiger Scholarship Fund are used to offset the cost of scholarships for the over 350 Tiger student-athletes. In 1996, the Memphis athletic department received donations of less than $1 million annually. A fund-raising goal was set to increase annual giving to $5 million. That figure has been surpassed for five consecutive years but must continue to increase in order to keep pace with the rising cost of higher education.
Additionally, Johnson announced the Ambassador Club, which started in 1997 with just two members, has reached an all-time high of 41 members. Each Ambassador pledges a donation of $500,000 to Tiger Athletics.
Several other highlights of his presentation included academic success and facility upgrades.
For the spring 2010 semester, Tiger student-athletes turned in a 2.94 grade point average, which is the highest-ever GPA for the department. Over 50 percent of U of M student-athletes made the Tiger 3.0 list and 92 student-athletes were named to the Dean's List. There were 23 student-athletes who posted a 4.0 GPA, including three Tiger quarterbacks - Cannon Smith, Ryan Williams and Andy Summerlin.
Construction continues on three major Athletic Department projects including the Tiger Football Weight Room, the Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame/Athletic Office Building addition and the Women's Basketball locker room renovation at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The AOB addition is slated for opening in late August.
Please click HERE for video of today's State of Tiger Athletics address.