On the heels of the University’s Board of Regents approving the funding and location of a new University of Minnesota Track and Field Stadium, today Bill Smith and Susan Adams Loyd were announced as the co-chairs of the steering committee tasked with guiding the project’s fundraising campaign. Though officially announced today, Smith and Loyd have been working behind-the-scenes with their steering committee in recent weeks to prepare for a successful campaign to bring a competition-level, on-campus outdoor track to the U of M, something the school has lacked for more than a decade.
Primarily, the steering committee will oversee fundraising efforts for the $19 million needed to cover the full cost of the track and field facility project. The committee will also provide counsel on the different elements that go into that fundraising campaign, including communications, event planning, and donor identification and cultivation. Smith and Loyd will manage the committee and its work for the duration of the campaign.
Smith came to the University of Minnesota in 1971 to run cross country and track and field for Head Coach Roy Griak and the Gophers. After graduating in 1976 with a bachelor’s in science in education, he went on to teach at Stillwater (Minn.) High School for seven years, where he also served as the girls’ cross country and track and field head coach. Smith then went to work for global giant and Twin Cities’ institution 3M in various sales, marketing and executive roles for the next 32 years, overseeing several large divisions of the company. Smith retired from 3M in 2015.
“Attending the University of Minnesota as a student-athlete positively contributed to my life and career and gave me the chance to pursue my passions. Supporting this project is an opportunity to give others the same chance,” said Smith. “To me, the track facility is no different than an art studio, a theatre or a science laboratory. All are places to pursue dreams and passions. I want others to have the same chances I had.”
Loyd holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Speech Communications, completing her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota. She has been an active volunteer at the University, including serving as the board chair of the U of M Alumni Association. She has worked in television and media for more than 35 years and is currently President of Clear Channel Outdoor Minneapolis/St. Paul. In addition to her day job, Loyd is a world-ranked Masters sprinter, winning a 2013 indoor national title in the 400, and gold and silver medals with the 4x400 and 4x100 relay teams at the 2015 World Championships, the former setting an outdoor American record for women age 55-59. She was recognized as the 2014 USATF Minnesota Masters Sprinter of the Year.
“I'm honored to contribute to this endeavor. Track and field promotes egalitarianism and inclusion for athletes of various backgrounds, and a thoughtfully built stadium will benefit the women’s and men’s programs equally,” said Loyd. “This stadium will demonstrate the University of Minnesota’s strong commitment to Title IX and be an investment in a large base of diverse student for generations to come. It will be an asset to the entire state of Minnesota, and athletes of all ages."
The University of Minnesota’s Track and Field Stadium will not only be the new home of the Gopher Track and Field programs, it will be synonymous with track and field excellence in the Midwest. It will host regular season, conference and national collegiate meets, while also providing an option for a single-session state high school meet and for USA Track and Field’s marquee events.
With a campaign goal to raise $19 million, advocacy and support for this project will be critical to its success. If you are interested in more information about the project, or if you would like to donate to support the new track, please visit NothingShortOfGreatness.com. You can also ask questions or provide suggestions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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