When it comes to supporting UT athletics, Chuck and Jackie Sullivan are in a league of their own.The Sullivans made the lead gift to the Rockets’ latest capital campaign, a $5 million renovation of the Larimer Athletic Complex. They donated $1.5 million, half of which went toward the Larimer project, the other half designated for a coaches’ endowment fund.
The donation is the latest in a long line of gifts from the Sullivans to support numerous projects at UT, both for athletics and the University as a whole. All totaled, the Sullivans have given nearly $14 million to the University, including $1.2 million for the renovation of the soccer, track and tennis facilities in 2003, and $5 million for the renovation of Savage Arena in 2008, the largest single gift ever made to the UT Athletic Department.
“We cannot say enough about the generosity of Chuck and Jackie Sullivan,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “We can always count on their support to help us in our quest to provide the best possible environment for our student-athletes. They are great friends who truly care about The University of Toledo, and they show that time and time again with their support. There is no doubt that we are a stronger Athletic Department thanks to the Sullivans.”
Chuck, a 1959 graduate of the UT College of Business, said his gratitude for the education he received from the University is all the incentive he needs to give back to his alma mater.
“I grew up in Toledo and had eight brothers and sisters. There wasn’t a lot of extra money floating around in those days, so I had to work my way through school,” said the former CEO and chair of Interstate Bakeries in Kansas City. “So I’ve always had a strong affinity for UT because I would not have a college degree if it wasn’t for The University of Toledo.”
Jackie, a graduate of Rider University, said she has adopted UT as her unofficial alma mater. “We come back to the area in the fall just so we can watch Rocket football games,” she added.
The Sullivans stressed the importance of supporting the University, whether it is the Larimer renovation project or an academic endeavor.
“We support the Athletic Department as well as numerous academic areas of the University because we think it is important and worthwhile,” Chuck said. “I would strongly encourage others — especially alumni — to contribute to UT if they are in a position to do so.”
The Larimer Athletic Complex originally opened in 1990 as part of the Glass Bowl renovation project. It is named after Frank and Hazel Larimer, whose lead gift paved the way for construction of the new building.