All of us in Norman have reason to feel special appreciation for members of the Gaylord family who have now contributed approximately $50 million to the University of Oklahoma for both academic and athletic programs.
I am especially grateful for the recent gift of Edward L. Gaylord, which provided the $12 million to complete the football stadium project. Without that gift, we would have been forced to leave out many important stadium improvements. Jim and Christy Everest, Mr. GaylordÕs daughter and son-in-law, also provided a major gift to complete the indoor practice facility.
I also appreciate the fact that the Gaylord family emphasized that they wanted the name Owen Field to remain unchanged. They also did not want a commercial enterprise name on the stadium as we have seen at so many universities and professional facilities. Above all, they emphasized that they in no way wanted to diminish the honor paid to those who have given their lives for our country and that ÒOklahoma Memorial StadiumÓ should remain central to the name of the stadium. In fact, a portion of their gift has been designated to build a memorial which will be located on the stadium grounds to carry the individual names of OU students, faculty and staff who have given their lives serving in the armed forces. For the first time since the stadium was built, their sacrifice will be appropriately recognized thanks to the Gaylord family.
Those of us who live in Norman should be especially grateful to OUÕs out of town donors. Stillwater residents contributed $12.5 million in taxpayer funds to the new OSU facilities. In light of NormanÕs past support of the Natural History Museum and other help to the University, OU decided to try to build our new stadium without public funds. In fact, 35 of the 37 major gifts to the recent athletic campaign came from donors who do not live in Norman. The contribution from season ticket holders through an extra stadium surcharge came from fans, 87% of whom do not have a Norman address.
While the stadium is being renovated and expanded totally by private funds, it is estimated that the Norman economy will receive more than a $1 billion benefit over the next 20 years in addition to the economic impact of $100 million created by the money spent on the construction project itself. In addition, the City of Norman receives about $500,000 each year in sales taxes from the Athletic Department.
When the project is complete, all of us in Norman can be proud that we will be home to one of the finest and most beautiful stadiums in the country. It will be one of the 15 largest college stadiums in America and one of only 6 in communities with a population the size of NormanÕs or smaller. I hope that my fellow citizens of Norman will join me in thanking all of those who made it possible.
Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Ê Sincerely,
University of Oklahoma
Letter from Joe Castiglione
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