Donors exceed fundraising goal to transform OSU’s Reser Stadium
by Siobhan Murray
In less than one year, Oregon State University donors have given $91.6 million to transform Reser Stadium, exceeding an $85 million fundraising goal, Scott Barnes, vice president and director of OSU Athletics, announced Wednesday night at the university’s annual football national signing day event.
The fundraising effort to complete Reser Stadium was led by the OSU Foundation, with success driven by 20 donors who each made gifts of $1 million or more, including a previously announced anonymous gift of $50 million, which equals the largest donation ever made to OSU.
“Donor support for completing Reser Stadium has been outstanding and includes seven donors who made their first gift of $1 million or more to the university to support this project,” said Barnes.
Construction is underway on the $160.5 million project that by fall of 2023 will turn the stadium into a national best-in-class football facility, Barnes said. The project includes year-round programs and spaces serving OSU students, faculty and staff, fans and community members, including a state-of-the-art welcome center for new students and their families, and a 35,000-square-foot wellness center.
“The Reser Stadium project is a great win for our student-athletes and fans and a win for the Oregon State community,” said OSU Interim President Becky Johnson. “It incorporates valuable new spaces and programs that will serve the entire university. OSU Athletics and the OSU Foundation worked together with our amazing donors to make this possible."
The transformed westside of Reser Stadium will provide the closest seating to the football field of any college stadium in the nation, Barnes said. The completed stadium also will feature a 360-degree concourse, premium and general seating options, additional concessions and restroom facilities, enhanced sightlines, accessibility upgrades and other new fan amenities.
“I am extremely grateful to each and every donor who enthusiastically embraced our vision and stepped forward to help enable what will be one of the most exciting college football stadium experiences in the nation,” Barnes said. “I offer a special thanks to our anonymous lead donor whose contribution is a display of unmatched generosity. This gift served as a catalyst for other donors to support this vital project throughout our fundraising efforts.
“Our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the university community deserve this first-class, year-round facility. I’m excited for our football program, but also for the impact Reser Stadium will have on all of our sports programs at OSU and the greater university.”
Barnes said that revenues from OSU football substantially support the university’s 10 women’s and seven men’s intercollegiate sports programs.
“We are indebted to our anonymous lead donor who launched the stadium project with a gift of $50 million and inspired further giving,” said Shawn L. Scoville, president and chief executive officer of the OSU Foundation. “Donors to this project exemplify OSU’s incredible fundraising momentum in the last five years. They are also true university community leaders. The same 20 donors who gave $91.6 million to complete Reser Stadium have given $119 million to OSU’s academic programs during their lifetimes.
“I am grateful for their remarkable generosity as well as for the leadership of Scott Barnes and our colleagues in OSU Athletics and the OSU Foundation for their outstanding execution of the fundraising plan.”
In addition to the $50 million lead gift to complete Reser Stadium, in the last five years the university has received a $50 million gift from alumnus Gary Carlson to name the Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, and an anonymous $25 million gift to support construction of a new $70 million arts and education complex currently being constructed on the university’s Corvallis campus.
The OSU football team had a 6-0 season at Reser Stadium this fall. In a milestone event, the westside of Reser Stadium was imploded on Jan. 7. More than 10,000 people watched a livestream of the implosion and a video of the implosion on the OSU football team’s Twitter page has received more than 550,000 views.
“After all the challenges associated with the pandemic, it was incredible to come back to Reser with Beaver Nation this fall,” said Jonathan Smith, Oregon State’s head football coach. “It’s such a special place. I know that the transformation of the stadium will make the game day experience for players and fans even better. As families and recruits come to campus, they will see the stadium as a reflection of our athletics program and our university community. I am so grateful to everyone involved.”
In addition to philanthropy, the completing Reser Stadium project will be funded by premium seating revenue and other revenues associated with the stadium and new university facilities.
OSU President Emeritus Edward J. Ray initially championed the project in 2017.
Construction will continue through the 2022 football season – with OSU continuing to play at Reser Stadium – and is on track to be completed by the start of the 2023 football season. Visit CompletingReserStadium.com for the most up-to-date information on the project.