Levenicks donate $5M toward Illinois Football Performance Center
Former team captain and offensive MVP Stu Levenick and his wife, Nancy, give $5 million for the construction of the new Illinois Football Performance Center.
Fighting Illini Athletics 02.08.18
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman announced today the commitment of a $5 million leadership gift for the construction of the new Illinois Football Performance Center by former team captain and offensive MVP Stu Levenick and his wife, Nancy. The future Illinois football team auditorium will be named the “Levenick Auditorium”, in honor of their commitment to the overall project. The gift creates momentum toward the DIA’s $30 million philanthropic goal for the facility, and marks the second multimillion dollar donation in as many months.
The Illinois Football Performance Center will be a brand-new 107,650 square football facility constructed adjacent to the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility. The facility will feature new and expanded strength and conditioning and sports medicine space, coaches’ offices, position meeting rooms, player development areas, locker rooms, and other areas for recruiting and prospect hosting.
“Stu and Nancy represent everything you ask for in alumni,” Whitman said. “They believe wholeheartedly in the value of a University of Illinois education and specifically how the student-athlete experience provides a positive impact on their future. Stu epitomizes the character we instill in our student-athletes. He arrived on this campus as a walk-on, and his drive and determination developed him into the team’s offensive MVP.
“I think he will be the first to tell you that his time as a student-athlete shaped his future success and paying it forward to future classes of students is a big motivator in their gift to this project,” Whitman said. “We are so incredibly thankful to them for sharing in our vision for this program.”
“To see a former Fighting Illini player and his wife step forward with a gift like this is very exciting,” said Lovie Smith. “Stu knows the dedication and work it takes to succeed at a high level, whether on the football field, or in the business world. The support the Levenicks are showing for the Football Performance Center means so much to the young men on this team, and to future Illini who will get to use it as we build our program. I can’t thank them enough.”
Stu Levenick began his Illinois football career as a walk-on, and was named team captain and offensive MVP in 1975. The offensive tackle earned All-Big Ten honors as a senior, and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1976.
Levenick graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry and is a Sloan Fellow with a Master of Science degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Levenick is a recently retired group president of Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Ill. During his 10 years as a member of Caterpillar’s Executive Office, Levenick managed businesses spanning marketing, manufacturing operations, engineering, supply chain, procurement and human resources. He joined the Caterpillar organization as a sales and marketing development representative in 1977.
He was inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and was awarded the University of Illinois Varsity “I” Achievement Award in 2014. He and his wife Nancy are University of Illinois Foundation members and strong supporters of the University through the establishment of two endowments.
“The University of Illinois has been an integral part of my life and my development as a person and a professional,” Levenick said. “I believe in the student-athlete experience and the lessons it teaches in leadership, accountability and teamwork. I would not be in the position I am today if it weren’t for my journey as an Illini.
“To play a role in ensuring the development of these qualities in student-athletes is an honor for Nancy and me,” Levenick said. “We strongly believe the University of Illinois, and the football program being built by Coach Smith, will produce the best and brightest student-athletes in the country.”
“For Illinois to compete with the elite teams in this league and nationally, this facility is an absolute necessity,” Whitman said. “To say it is a game changer is an understatement. We have attracted championship caliber coaches, have broken ground on a state-of-the-art facility, and continue to battle for the best student-athletes in order to bring this program back to prominence.”
Construction of the new football performance center will be completed prior to the 2019 season.
The Levenick’s gift is part of the $300 million fundraising goal for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is part of “With Illinois,” the recently announced $2.25 billion University-wide fundraising campaign.
Levenick Illinois Football Donation Press Conference