STORRS, Conn. - The UConn Basketball Champions Center was dedicated today in the name of Peter J. and Pamela H. Werth, who made an initial multimillion pledge to launch the building project and followed that with a second gift that coincides with the opening of the new practice and training home for the Huskies' championship basketball programs.
The two donations, totaling $7 million, were critical for the project, the first University building financed entirely with private donations. The new $40 million basketball training facility is adjacent to the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, the campus home of the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's and women's basketball championship teams.
"We believe the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center is the key to sustaining UConn's tradition of great basketball," said Coleman Levy '61 (CLAS), '62 MA, '66 JD, chairman of the UConn Foundation Board of Directors.
"Built solely with private donations, the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center is a real tribute to the steadfastness of our friends and alumni and their willingness to support UConn's transformation and vision for the future," he added. The Werths' latest gift of $2.3 million followed their previous $4.7 million pledge.
The 75,000-plus square-foot building features complete facilities for the men's and women's championship basketball programs. The center includes common areas designed for academic support, sports medicine and strength training, along with separate practice gyms, locker rooms, coaches' offices, meeting rooms and video analysis facilities.
Upon entering the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center, the lobby will feature a display of NCAA trophies representing the four men's championships and the nine women's titles. On each side of the main lobby leading to the women's and men's practice areas, visitors will be greeted by floor-to-ceiling images of two iconic Huskies representing each program - Maya Moore and Ray Allen.
Peter Werth, a season ticket holder for both basketball teams and the football team, is the founder and CEO of Chemwerth Inc., a full-service generic drug development and supply company based in Connecticut. He and Pamela have been active UConn Athletics donors since 2003. Their strong connection to the University began with their children - Peter, Debbie, and Jackie - all of whom attended UConn.
"UConn is a very special place," said Peter. "The young people who go to UConn come out better than they went in, not only in terms of education but also in attitude and life skills. UConn does a great job, and my family is pleased to be able to support it."
Pamela Werth, a strong supporter of programs that marry the arts and sports to education, said she was impressed by the basketball training center's focus on educational resources for student-athletes. "The soundproof study rooms and educational support areas are a tribute to the importance of academics to our student-athletes," she said.
Warde Manuel, UConn director of athletics, noted the facility will provide important support for student-athletes.
"I am very grateful to Peter and Pam Werth for their incredible generosity that has helped make the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center a reality," Manuel said. "I also want to thank all the donors who contributed to the facility. Their support will help ensure that our men's and women's basketball programs are able to continue to compete at a national championship level for decades to come."
Last year, men's head coach Kevin Ollie '95 (CLAS) and women's head coach Geno Auriemma led the Huskies to dual championships, a feat accomplished just once before in NCAA history when Jim Calhoun and Auriemma led UConn to both national championships in 2004.
The Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center was designed by Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport, which also designed The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center located across the street from the new facility.