U, Land O’Lakes announce donation

Land O’Lakes donated $25 million to the University of Minnesota on Tuesday.

Sam Kraemer

University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague’s $190 million facilities plan took a major step forward Tuesday with a $25
million contribution from Land O’Lakes.

University President Eric Kaler and Land O’Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski officially announced the collaborative partnership Wednesday afternoon at a press conference on Northrop Mall.

“Today, our partnership with Land O’Lakes, which has been strong for 40 years, has become truly historic,”
Kaler said.

About $21 million of the donation will go toward a 60,000-square-foot center in a new “Athletics Village,” which will house academic, leadership and nutritional programs for students and student-athletes.

“It’s great to get a Minnesota company,” Teague said. ”It’s a great shot in the arm.”

Teague said $40 million of the $190 million has been raised as of Wednesday, but that could change by the end of the week.

“Honestly, after really beginning significant asking at the beginning of this summer, I’m really pleased to be at that point at this moment,” Teague said.

He said he expects more donations in response to the commitment by Land O’Lakes, something he has seen happen in previous endeavors.

“I feel like when a group like Land O’Lakes steps up, it shows how much they believe in what we’re really doing,” Teague said.

He also said the design stage of the athletics facilities plan will begin at the end of September.

The plan is to break ground behind the track and parking lot at Bierman Field Athletic Building, Teague said.

He said won’t feel relieved, however, until all of Athletics Village is finished.

“We’ve just got so much work to do,” Teague said. “But there’s so much potential.”

A great portion of that work will be raising the remaining $150 million for the project. Still, Teague is adamant about allowing the process to play its course and not pushing it.

“Fundraising is just a process that you have to put in place and abide by,” Teague said.