The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Athletics calls for $60 million philanthropic investment

Provided by DePaul University
A mockup of the proposed basketball practice facility to be housed on the Lincoln Park Campus, projected to begin construction in summer 2025 and be completed by fall 2026. Provided by DePaul University.

Students expressed excitement, frustration and anger with the prospect of raising $60 million for a new basketball practice facility in DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.  

“We’re a Big East Conference school,” said DePaul’s DeWayne Peevy, director of athletics. “We’re funded at the lowest level in our conference, and we’re not getting enough return on that investment right now, so we have to make a choice and these facilities are part of that.”  

He and other senior members of the university said a change was needed to nurture DePaul athletics’ potential and increase the university’s nationwide appeal. 

Even though the funding for this project will come from philanthropic donations, DePaul’s athletic budget is separate from the academic affairs budget.  

Peevy called athletics the “front porch” of the university.

 “Not the most important thing, but a lot of times the first thing that people see,” Peevy said.

 If that “front porch” is in disrepair, he continued, people will not be compelled to explore the interior.  

The new athletic facility is about raising the status of DePaul in the Big East Conference, branding the university and increasing student morale, he said. 

Some students are not as convinced of the immediate benefits of this philanthropic goal, especially considering the university’s budget gap last financial year that prompted a reduction of faculty and staff. 

“I don’t care if it’s already paid for,” junior Grace Provan said. “You can wait, you know, there’s no urgency with it.”

Provan understands the money will come from donors and not the athletics budget. However, she still said now is not the right time. 

“It is kind of insulting to hear that you’re spending $60 million on a new facility,” Provan said.

Among DePaul sports fans and student-athletes, though, there is excitement about taking the university’s facilities to the next level. 

James Stowell, director of live game operations for Radio DePaul Sports, said he supports the idea for a new facility because it will help DePaul measure up in the Big East conference. 

After visiting Marquette University and Butler University’s athletics facilities, both schools in the Big East, Stowell said DePaul’s facilities resembled that of a high school. 

“I support the idea of better, more qualified training facilities for our athletes,” Stowell said. “I believe that we may lose out on potential recruits for all the teams because of the practice facilities.”

Peevy said that announcing the athletic and academic capital campaigns together demonstrates a vital partnership and raises awareness of DePaul’s educational priorities. 

“Think about how many more people are going to know about our academic fundraising initiative because it came with this athletic news,” Peevy said.     

Still, the athletic facility is getting much of the attention on social media.

Parveen Mundi, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said some students feel frustrated because the fundraising efforts emphasize certain issues more than others. 

 “There are parts of the university some students might feel are being centered or codified through the report, and other campus issues some students feel are being left behind ” Mundi said.  

Peevy said that student, faculty and staff input was a part of the 18-month idea phase of this initiative. 

“The greatest thing for me is socializing for 18 months,” Peevy said. “That’s how I got to know everybody. Whether it was Student Government Association, faculty council, staff council, the deans, joint council, president’s cabinet and neighborhood associations, I was going around already fundraising.” 

However, Jaslynn Hodges, SGA chief of staff, said she found out about the facility when everyone else did. 

“There wasn’t any collaboration about the facility,” Hodges said. “We only became aware when it [the plan] was published.”

President Robert Manuel  said the new facility is an investment in the immense potential of DePaul athletics.  

“Taking the assets of the university and extending them to their best and brightest capacity is what we need to do,” Manuel said. “Athletics is one of those. It has a capacity that has been untouched for years.” 

Manuel said he purposefully included the academic enterprise component along with athletics in his convocation speech to emphasize the value of doing “both, and.” 

“A strategic investment in improving DePaul’s athletics facilities will benefit all our student athletes and foster long-term financial health for the university,” Manuel said in his convocation speech. 

Peevy addressed the issue of funding this project and said that conversations with prospective donors have been positive, but no checks could be cut until Manuel announced the plan Aug. 31.  

“The initial conversations were good,” Peevy said. “We have people wanting to come in at the seven-figure level, at the million-dollar, million-dollar-plus level. We need a couple of people in the eight-figure level to get us over the top and those conversations are lining up pretty soon — as early as this calendar year.”

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