When you think about the impact of the State Your Purpose fundraising campaign at Colorado State University, there might not be a more eye-catching example of the campaign’s success than Canvas Stadium.
The state-of-the-art, multipurpose facility stands tall – not only on the south side of CSU’s main campus but among modern college stadiums across the country. The award-winning design, high-tech features to mitigate community impact, top-of-the-line training opportunities, and fan-friendly amenities immediately put CSU on the college stadiums map.
“The stadium really has been everything we hoped it would be – and more,” says Joe Parker, CSU’s director of athletics. “The stadium wouldn’t have happened without private support. The folks who supported our vision with donations or through buying season tickets and premium seating are the ones who made this happen, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.”
The stadium was an immediate smash hit when it debuted in 2018. Not only did CSU draw record crowds at the new facility, but it also was praised by fans, media, and even critics of the project for its many unique features that made it a perfect fit as CSU’s first on-campus stadium in nearly 50 years.
Three significant gifts made a huge impact on the stadium.
The first was an anonymous $20 million gift to transfer the name “Sonny Lubick Field” from Hughes Stadium to the new facility. That gift, honoring CSU’s most successful football coach, remains the largest in the department’s history and one of the largest ever received by the University.
The second came from iconic local brewing company New Belgium, which donated $4.3 million to create the New Belgium Porch on the stadium’s north end. The Porch remains one of the facility’s most popular amenities, with hundreds of fans each game using the space for up-close views of the action while enjoying New Belgium products.
Finally, the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies donated a multimillion gift that created the OCR Field Club, a popular premium seating option for fans that offers food, beverages, and field-level views of the game.
“We’ve had a long relationship with OCR, but so much has happened since we received that gift,” Parker says. “Yes, it’s a beautiful space that’s popular with fans, but we have better primary care for our student-athletes because of that relationship. They contribute to the well-being of our teams on a daily basis.”
Athletics enjoyed other highlights, including an $8 million planned gift from an anonymous student-athlete alumnus that pushed the campaign past its goal of $1 billion nearly two years early. That gift – one of the largest in the department’s history – provides $6 million in scholarship support for student-athletes and endows the head coaching position for women’s swimming. The endowed coaching position was a first for CSU.
The real strength of athletics philanthropy, however, is numbers. Hundreds of donors each year provide funding for CSU’s 300-plus student-athletes via the Ram Club. Those donors, Parker says, are the backbone of support for Rams athletics.