Courtesy Illinois Athletics,
March 7, 2022
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced a second significant gift for the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation and expansion project from 1976 Gies College of Business alumnus Steve Nesbitt and his wife, Michele. In 2021, the Nesbitts made their first gift toward the facility project and now, only six months later, they are adding to that gift in an effort to build momentum toward the project's completion.
"When you look at how close we are to completing the fundraising for this much-needed facility improvement, Michele and I just wanted to push us down the homestretch," Nesbitt said. "We hope this additional commitment encourages other donors to either make a second donation or choose to join in supporting the project. We believe in what we are building and know that state-of-the-art facilities will continue to attract and develop the best student-athletes for our programs."
Nesbitt, a Moline, Ill., native, earned his degree in accountancy from the Gies College of Business. He and Michele now reside in Tampa, Fla., and Philadelphia, Penn. Steve is a successful commercial real estate entrepreneur who got his start as a Wendy's and Chili's restaurant franchisee with more than 140 facilities. Michele is a successful entrepreneur and owner of Just Bare Skin Clinics in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, Penn.
"The Nesbitts, and people like them, are vital to a project as ambitious as what we have undertaken with the Ubben renovation," Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said. "They believe wholeheartedly in our vision for Illinois Basketball and realize how important quality, modern facilities are to the coaches, student-athletes and staff who will use these spaces. We are humbled whenever someone steps forward to support our projects, but for Steve and Michele to make two such meaningful gifts in such a short time is exceedingly generous. They are committed to seeing us field elite, championship programs, and we are incredibly grateful for their support."
The Ubben renovation and expansion will add approximately 40,000 square feet to the existing structure, while remodeling large portions of the existing building. New coaches' office spaces and a grand entry lobby are included in the project. Two new half courts will be added to both the women's and men's current gym spaces, giving the two programs additional space to work on skill development while not disrupting full-court action. The project will feature a new strength and conditioning addition, significantly increase the size of the locker rooms and players lounges and include a state-of-the-art sports medicine area.
"As construction continues each day and Ubben transforms right before our eyes, it's exciting to know that we are just a few months away from having the best facility in the country for our players," Head Coach Brad Underwood said. "This does not happen without the generosity of donors like the Nesbitts. They have shown extraordinary commitment to Illinois, making multiple gifts to help get this project done. To have loyal alumni engaged and offering support of our program at a high level is part of what makes Illinois such a special place."
To date, Illinois has secured $31.3 million in commitments for the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation and expansion toward the $40 million project.
The gift is part of the DIA's $300 million fundraising goal for "With Illinois," the $2.25 billion University-wide fundraising campaign.
Transform Illinois Basketball by making a gift for Ubben Basketball Complex Expansion and Renovation. Forever attach your name to the championship culture of Illinois Basketball! Illini fans making gifts of $500 or more will be recognized on a donor wall within the Ubben Basketball Complex.
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