Richard Lindner Pledges $10.2 Million to Varsity Village

Prominent Cincinnati philanthropist and businessman Richard E. Lindner has committed $10.2 million to the University of Cincinnati's Varsity Village athletic facilities enhancement project, the university announced today.

In recognition of Mr. Lindner's generosity, UC's athletic complex will be named the Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village and the new athletic center, which will be the centerpiece of Varsity Village, will be named the Richard E. Lindner Center.

Mr. Lindner's gift of $10.2 million is the largest gift from an individual to one project in the university's history.

Mr. Lindner expressed his personal thanks to his brothers, Carl and Robert, for their assistance and financial backing. This mutual support has made many accomplishments a reality.

"The University of Cincinnati is proud to be associated with Richard Lindner, a quiet benefactor who has assisted many worthy programs in this community," University president Dr. Joseph A. Steger said in making the announcement. "His support of the University of Cincinnati, especially our athletic programs, is long-standing and his gift will benefit our students far into the future."

Cincinnati Athletics Director Bob Goin noted that the gift enables UC to embark on the construction project which will position the university's athletic program with the nation's elite.

"Dr. Lindner's generosity toward the university hit an all-time high in his gift that enables us to have a state of the art athletic center," said Goin. "This facility will provide all the necessary services for our student-athletes to compete at a Division I level. We are proud that Varsity Village and the center will bear his name.

"Varsity Village is a reaffirmation of the university's commitment to having an athletics program which competes on the national level," stated Goin.

Mr. Lindner is president of REL Group, Inc., a Greater Cincinnati-based holding company, and is former owner, chairman of the board and CEO of Thriftway, Inc.

He has been a long-time supporter of University of Cincinnati athletics. He gave one of the establishing gift for the UCATS Club in the Shoemaker Center. The Club's dining room is named the Richard E. Lindner Dining Room. He has also provided support for UC's student-athletes.

Last spring, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science from the University of Cincinnati.

The Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village will provide world-class training and competition facilities for each of UC's 18 varsity sports. Features include:

  • construction of a new baseball stadium, complete with locker rooms, lights for night games and seating for 3,000, to be located on what is currently practice and intramural fields
  • renovation of the track and soccer complex which will provide an official-size playing field for soccer, permanent seating and a press box
  • a new tennis complex, with six courts to be placed on top of a 150-car underground parking garage
  • a boat house and training center for the rowing team on the Licking River
  • renovations to the present Armory Fieldhouse.
  • construction of a 50-meter competitive swimming pool in the new student recreation center.

The centerpiece of Varsity Village is the Richard E. Lindner Center, which will house virtually all of the support services for UC's intercollegiate athletic program. Features include:

  • offices for all coaches and administrators
  • new sports medicine and athletic training facilities
  • a new Academic Services Center, which will occupy one entire floor of the eight-floor structure
  • a practice gymnasium with two courts
  • a university and sports museum
  • traditions lounge
  • new strength and conditioning training facilities

The Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village will be more than just an athletic facility. UC's Student Health Service will be relocated to the Richard E. Lindner Center. The structure will also house a 330-seat auditorium and the university's Faculty Club.

FieldTurf, a relatively new artificial turf product which has the properties of natural grass, will be installed on most of the playing and practice fields to allow for maximum use both by intercollegiate athletics and university intramurals and recreation.

Construction will begin in April.

Cincinnati has achieved success on and off the playing fields and courts in recent years. Over the past five years, UC teams have posted a .618 winning percentage, claimed 23 conference championships and produced 31 All-Americans.

Academically, UC's documented graduation rate for student-athletes at 61 percent exceeds the national average for Division I programs as well as the university's graduation rate for all students. Additionally, UC's athletic program was cited as the fifth-best athletic program at providing opportunities for women in last year's U.S. News and World Report rankings.

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