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$15M fundraising campaign aims to improve university sports programs

THE UNIVERSITY OF Ottawa is set to launch a new $15-million fundraising campaign aimed exclusively at improving Gee-Gees sport programs.

The campaign is called Power of Sport and is modeled after the nationwide Own the Podium campaign that helped Canadian athletes make it to the Olympics.

“Our ultimate goal is to help our teams win more national championships,” said Christopher Blais, manager of faculty development at U of O’s Development Office.

The campaign is co-chaired by two U of O law school graduates: Peter Chiarelli, general manager of the Boston Bruins, and Kevin Gilmore, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Montreal Canadiens. It is also chaired by singer-songwriter Roch Voisine, an alumnus of the U of O men’s varsity hockey team who graduated in 1985 with a degree in physical therapy.

Gilmore and U of O president Allan Rock officially announced the campaign at the Gee-Gees football home opener Sept. 7.

Funds raised will help provide more personal care facilities for athletes, in particular the men’s football team, and will help recruit new coaches and improve the overall capacities of sports facilities. Campaign material provided by Sports Services outlined the breakdown of the anticipated $15 million:

• $5 million will be devoted to finding and encouraging a partnership in the renaming of the Lees Avenue Field between the University and, hopefully, a big-name company.

• Another $5 million will go towards the top four sports programs: Men and women’s basketball, men’s football and women’s soccer.  $2 million will be focused towards recruitment and other tools required to improve the teams. The final $3 million is expected to go towards the funding of coaching staff.  The university has offered to match all donations made to the coach fund.

• $3 million will be used to expand the Fitness and Active Living Centre near the Minto Sports Complex—inside the new building currently under construction on King Edward just across from the complex. This will hopefully sate the growing demand of the university’s large student population.

• $2 million will go toward the men’s hockey, women’s hockey, women’s rugby, swimming, track and field, and women’s volleyball varsity teams in order to improve their overall performance.