$6 million donor to TCF Bank Stadium announced

T. Denny Sanford is a U alumnus and St. Paul native.

Stadium Donor T. Denny Sanford and Athletics Director Joel Maturi stand in front of the unfinished TCF Bank Stadium before a tour last Tuesday. Sanford donated 6 million dollars which is the largest personal gift towards the stadium.

Jules Ameel

Stadium Donor T. Denny Sanford and Athletics Director Joel Maturi stand in front of the unfinished TCF Bank Stadium before a tour last Tuesday. Sanford donated 6 million dollars which is the largest personal gift towards the stadium.

The donor of a $6 million gift to the TCF Bank Stadium was revealed at a Thursday news conference as T. Denny Sanford , a University of Minnesota alumnus. University President Bob Bruininks said the gift is âÄúhistoricâÄù because the University achieved and exceeded its $86 million fundraising goal with SanfordâÄôs donation, the largest personal gift to the stadium. He said around 2,100 donors have given to the project, including 500 first-time donors and 25 individuals and corporations who have donated $1 million or more. âÄú[This] closes out the first phase of the campaign and I believe it will inspire other people to give to the stadium and to academics,âÄù Bruininks said. âÄúWhen we make a commitment to do something, we succeed at the University of Minnesota.âÄù Athletics Director Joel Maturi said Sanford had planned to donate the goal-reaching money for several years. âÄúFrom the time we first met six years ago, I loved his passion for Minnesota, for Gopher athletics,âÄù Maturi said. âÄúHe has a big heart.âÄù Sanford offered to donate $35 million to the stadium in 2003, but he and the University had been unable to reach an agreement on the terms, one of which was that he would withhold his donation until 18 months after construction was completed. Associate Athletics Director Phil Esten said although the original gift didnâÄôt work out, it was Sanford who helped energize the campaign and shared a vision with the University to bring football back to campus. Maturi said SanfordâÄôs donation will go toward building the Minnesota athletics hall of fame. âÄúHow appropriate that is that the Minnesota hall of fame carry his name, because he truly is a hall of famer,âÄù Maturi said. Sanford said Minnesota and the University are important to him because heâÄôs a native of St. Paul and graduated from the Science, Literature and Arts College, which no longer exists at the University. âÄúMy hatâÄôs off to Minnesota,âÄù he said. âÄúHatâÄôs off to the Gophers.âÄù Esten said heâÄôs excited that they were able to reach their $86 million goal and build the hall of fame. âÄúThe hall of fame was a dream of ours,âÄù Esten said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to have an opportunity to represent all of our 25 sports in the hall of fame.âÄù Sanford grew up in St. Paul but now lives in South Dakota. He gained his wealth through banking and credit card companies. Construction on the stadium began in July 2007 and in January 2008 the first piece of steel was erected. The installation of the stadiumâÄôs field began Thursday. Sanford took his first look at the stadium on Thursday. He said Maturi gave him a suite in the stadium, which he plans to use with his family to watch the first game on Sept. 12 when the Gophers will play the United States Air Force Academy.