Gym Expansion Campaign Declared Huge Success

MERCED - The University of California, Merced, announces the completion of one of the largest fundraising campaigns ever undertaken in the Merced area. The campaign has now surpassed its $1.365 million goal for expanding the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium in the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center, which is slated for completion this fall.

"The Gymnasium Expansion Campaign has been a success because so many caring individuals and groups from our region have participated," said Ken Robbins, who has co-chaired the campaign committee since its inception in 2004. "We have reached our goal and decided to conclude the campaign. We now begin a new campaign to raise funds for recreation and fitness equipment for the Joseph Edward Gallo Center."

University officials and the campaign committee thank the community for their participation in the campaign. It is anticipated that the new facility will help UC Merced's student recruitment and retention efforts by providing new, much-needed space and equipment for students' extracurricular activities and fitness and wellness needs. The gymnasium will accommodate basketball, volleyball and other indoor sports as well as musical performances, distinguished speakers and campus and community events.

"The Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center will be a tremendous benefit, not only to the Campus Recreation program, but to all UC Merced students and the community," said David Dunham, the director of campus recreation. "Students will finally have a place on campus to enjoy active free time with their friends; it adds another important piece to the student experience on campus. We are extremely grateful to everyone in the Merced community that has made this project possible."

"The recreation and wellness center is named for Joseph Edward Gallo because of a $2 million donation from his family that provided the initial funding for the facility," said Ralph Temple, the campaign committee's other co-chair. "As it became clear that UC Merced students would need a larger gymnasium to use, a community committee made up of Sandee Boese, Mike Gallo, Billie Razzari, Ken Robbins, Mike Salvadori and I came together with UC Merced administrators to begin a fundraising campaign to expand the gymnasium."

A $500,000 donation from Greg and Cathie Hostetler, owners of Ranchwood Homes, kicked off the campaign in the summer of 2004. The NCAA-regulation-sized basketball court in the Joseph Edward Gallo Gymnasium will be named for the Hostetlers.

Nine other donors contributed $50,000 each to the campaign. Mike and Jeanne Salvadori, Bob and Evie Ayers, the Donald Stewart family, Courtesy Automotive Center, Carol Schrole, Prine Construction, Inc., the Calvin Bright Foundation, the Peter Gallo Memorial Foundation, and Bartlett Petroleum can all claim a major stake in the new center's mission to serve students, faculty and staff at UC Merced as well as the surrounding communities.

For the final phase of the Gymnasium Expansion Campaign, members of the community were encouraged to make donations of $1000 to name individual bleacher seats. The bleacher seat portion of the campaign has been an extraordinary success. To date, 283 seats have been named by individuals, families and businesses from around the region. These donors' names will also be listed on a plaque near the bleacher seats in the gymnasium.

Other donations ranging from $50 to $25,000 brought the campaign to completion.

Bleacher seats will continue to be included in the new campaign to equip the facility, and interested individuals may still name one or more bleacher seats for $1000 each, naming them for themselves, family members or friends. Nearly 250 more seats remain to be named. This will be the primary means of raising funds for recreation equipment for UC Merced students. Interested individuals should contact Mike Campbell at UC Merced for more information regarding contributions to the new campaign at (209) 724-4402 or mcampbell@ucmerced.edu.

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