U needs $8 million to reach stadium goal

To date, the University has raised $78 million in gifts and sponsorships for the new Gopher football stadium âÄî about $8 million short of its initial goal with less than a year before kickoff. The latest âÄúgrassrootsâÄù phase of fundraising âÄî a state-wide county tour âÄî for TCF Bank Stadium is in full swing, and made a stop Tuesday in western MinnesotaâÄôs Swift County . Mary Kay Delvo, director of advocacy/public policy of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association , spoke at the event and explained how the state will benefit from the new stadium. âÄúWe wanted to make sure everyone knows itâÄôs not just about seven football games a year,âÄù Delvo said. âÄúItâÄôs an outdoor community center for our state.âÄù Delvo said the stadium will be used 365 days a year for activities including graduations, concerts, career fairs, high-school sporting events and marching bands, among others. Through advocating for the stadium, the University has also raised $45 million toward scholarships over the past four years, she said. The amount raised from the county tour is unclear at the moment, said David Crum, associate athletics director of the Golden Gopher Fund. Some donations from certain countiesâÄô residents after representatives have visited, Crum said. The tour is scheduled to visit Owatonna in Steele County next week and will stop at Hennepin CountyâÄôs BayView Event Center in Excelsior on Nov. 4. âÄúPeople can make $1 donations all the way up to any amount,âÄù Crum said. The remaining dollars will not only be raised through the grassroots phase, Crum said. They could come from donations and gifts from each phase of fundraising to fulfill the remaining amount. Phase 1 of the fundraising, includes corporate sponsorships and gifts over $1 million. Phase 2 involves about 50 volunteers who set out to raise $100,000 on their own or with friends. Each phase is continuing throughout the grassroots fundraising, Crum said. The University raised $41 million by October 2006, shortly after the groundbreaking ceremony. Only $5 million has been raised since last November . TCF Bank will pay $35 million over 25 years for naming rights to the stadium . Dairy QueenâÄôs $2.5 million sponsorship includes naming rights on the stadiumâÄôs club room. Athletics Director Joel Maturi is pleased with the progress so far, he said. âÄúI am thankful to the coaches and staff and the generosity of our donors and fans,âÄù Maturi said. âÄúTCF Bank Stadium will change the culture of Gopher athletics forever.âÄù Wednesday, the athletics department announced that there are only about 300 season tickets left for the rest of this season. Buying a season ticket for this year is the only way to guarantee a non-premium seat in TCF Bank Stadium for the 2009 season, according to the press release.