Shenkman's $2.5 million gift, one of the largest ever to the UConn Division of Athletics, will help build an intercollegiate, intramural and recreational facility that will serve the entire UConn community.
The 85,000 square foot Mark R. Shenkman Training Center (full size rendering below) will rival similar facilities at other large universities that have traditionally been dominant in college football.
Featuring a 120-yard long synthetic playing surface, an 18,000 square foot strength and conditioning area, and state-of-the-art video capabilities, the indoor training center provides UConn's football team with the most technologically advanced training equipment.
"The Mark R. Shenkman Training Center will be a huge breakthrough in the growth of our football program," says UConn head football coach Randy Edsall. "Now we'll have the advantage of year round training, which is a necessity for any team serious about competing for conference championships and bowl victories."
The University has contracted with the Hartford-based firm of Jeter, Cook and Jepson and with HOK Sport + Venue + Event, an internationally-renowned architectural firm based in Kansas City, to provide architectural and engineering services for The Mark R. Shenkman Training Center.
Founded in 1983, HOK created the first practice devoted to the design of sports facilities and is now recognized as a world leader in the field. Its client list includes 75 major colleges and universities, 24 Major League Baseball franchises and 30 National Football League franchises. The company has been involved with over 600 sports projects, including on-campus football facilities for several major universities along with professional stadiums such as Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots), Reliant Stadium (Houston Texans) and SBC Park (San Francisco Giants).
A resident of Greenwich, Conn., Shenkman graduated from the Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from UConn in 1965 followed by a master's degree in business administration from The George Washington University. Shenkman is the founder and president of Shenkman Capital Management, Inc., a registered investment advisor with offices in New York City and Stamford, Connecticut. He has served on the UConn Foundation's Board of Directors for eight years and has been a member of its investment committee. Shenkman was elected to the UConn School of Business Hall of Fame in 2002 and has endowed a classroom and the e-Commerce Chair for the business school.
Acknowledging the gift, UConn Director of Athletics Jeff Hathaway praised Shenkman's generosity: "We are very grateful to Mark Shenkman and his entire family for this significant enhancement to our athletic program," says Hathaway. "Thanks to this gift, and the opening of the newest and most modern college football stadium in the country at Rentschler Field last year, our football program's training and playing facilities are among the best in the nation. In addition, this landmark facility will provide all of our varsity teams with an outstanding training venue while adding to our recreational services offerings."
"There is a special place in my heart for the University of Connecticut," says Shenkman. "With this gift, I hope to see our football program achieve the same standard of excellence as the men's and women's basketball teams. It's also gratifying that the UConn student population as a whole will benefit from this leading edge facility."
Groundbreaking for The Mark R. Shenkman Training Center will take place in winter of 2004, with the opening slated for the summer of 2006.
Connecticut enters its first season of Big East Conference Football. UConn was 9-3 in 2003, it's fourth and final campaign as a Division I-A independent.