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Bob Bruininks and Stanley R. Crooks hold a ceremonial check for $12.5 million.

President Bob Bruininks and Stanley R. Crooks, chair of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, hold a ceremonial check for $12.5 million.

U receives $12.5 million for stadium, scholarships

Gift from Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is largest private gift ever for Gopher athletics

October 19, 2007

The University of Minnesota has announced a $12.5 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). Ten million dollars of the gift will go toward the construction of TCF Bank Stadium, and $2.5 million will go to a matching fund that will create a $5 million endowment to provide scholarships, with a preference given to American Indian students. The $10 million stadium gift is the largest single private gift ever to Golden Gopher Athletics.

President Bob Bruininks made the announcement October 19 at an 11 a.m. press conference, accompanied by leaders of the SMSC, including Chairman Stanley R. Crooks; Athletics Director Joel Maturi; and Tom LaSalle, president of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.

"On behalf of the entire U community, I want to express our very sincere gratitude and thanks to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community," Bruininks said. "The Dakota people, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and all of the tribes in Minnesota have traditions that extend back thousands of years--traditions that deserve our recognition and our very deep respect. It is our shared hope that this gift will tangibly link those proud traditions with new, shared traditions that we will celebrate and enjoy together, further enriching the heritage and the legacy of the University of Minnesota."

In recognition of the significance of the gift, both the west hospitality plaza--the largest and most central plaza for the stadium--and the scholarship will be named in honor of the SMSC. The name of the plaza, along with more details about the design, will be announced at a later time. Crooks said the plaza will be a way to let the many people who will pass through it "be aware that this is historic Dakota territory," and learn about not only his tribe, but all of the tribes in Minnesota. "The U of M is a fine institution of higher learning and what better place to promote the role of Indians in this state," he said. "The endowment will provide opportunity for more Indian students to seek out a college education at the University so that they can better serve their tribal communities. We need Indian doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, and leaders to help Indian people be self-sufficient."

Bruininks said the U will work with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to design and build a plaza that will exhibit and celebrate the history, presence, and cultural contributions of American Indian tribes in Minnesota.

TCF Bank Stadium, which is scheduled to open in fall 2009, is being funded in part by $86 million in private gifts and sponsorships. Maturi announced that with the SMSC gift, the total amount raised has reached $73 million, ahead of the fund-raising schedule, with $13 million remaining to be raised.

More about TCF Bank Stadium can be found at the stadium Web site.