Land O’Lakes is investing $25 million in University of Minnesota academics and Gopher Athletics— one of the largest single corporate commitments in University history and the largest commitment ever made collectively by Land O’Lakes Inc. and the Land O’Lakes Foundation.
“Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to educational excellence and further strengthens our investment in the pipeline of talent from the University of Minnesota,” said Christopher Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Land O’Lakes has doubled in size over the past five years and is committed to continue to grow its food and agricultural businesses both domestically and internationally. It is going to take high caliber talent to achieve our business goals. We are pleased to be partnering with the University to help create a holistic student experience that equips graduates for a competitive marketplace, but also inspires the well-rounded talent necessary to meet the challenge of feeding a growing global population. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship and building a strategic partnership with this great institution.”
The monetary commitment is largely philanthropic, but also includes an element of sponsorship. It is one of the first ever agreements between the University and a business partner to have a broad-ranging impact that will include support for student-athletes and academic programs, including student scholarships, academic and development excellence within Gopher Athletics, internship opportunities and faculty research, among other things. It will fund projects and initiatives throughout numerous University departments and colleges including Intercollegiate Athletics; the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; the Carlson School of Management; and the College of Science and Engineering.
“Meaningful partnerships with Minnesota businesses are vital to the success of our students and the state’s economic future,” said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. “The 40-plus-year partnership between the U and Land O’Lakes is one in which we take great pride. This new commitment and innovative model of support will advance our teaching, student support, athletic programs and research mission, and will further position the U as a continued leader in addressing society's pressing challenges.”
As part of the commitment, Land O’Lakes will receive naming rights to a new center for excellence that will be located in the Athletics Village, the centerpiece of Gopher Athletics’ new facilities plan. The 60,000 square-foot facility will house academic, nutritional and leadership development programs for all University students and student-athletes alike, and is anticipated to open in fall 2016. Fifteen million dollars of the commitment will fund this facility.
The $25 million commitment will be provided to the university from 2015 to 2024.