The University of Notre Dame has announced a $15 million gift from alumnus Tripp Smith and his wife, Sheila, for a recreation center in the university's new student center.
The gift will enable the university to go forward with an 80,000-square-foot recreational center as a central component of the new Duncan Student Center, which is located on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium.
Located on the third and fourth levels of the center, the Smith Center for Recreational Sports will include a full-size basketball court with bleachers; a cardio and free-weight area totaling more than 13,000 square feet; an open area with modular exercise space; three studios for yoga, dance, martial arts, and group fitness instruction; office space for staff and personal trainers; a student lounge; a spin center; and men's and women's locker rooms. The center also will feature a three-lane indoor track; a boxing area with two rings and a system for quickly setting up and storing heavy bags and speed bags; more than fifteen hundred square feet of open space for stretching and individual exercise; and a four-story rock-climbing wall.
A 1987 Notre Dame graduate, Smith is a co-founder of GSO Capital Partners and a senior managing director of the Blackstone Group. He is also a member of the university's advisory council for the Student-Athlete and Campaign Cabinet and co-chair of the Wall Street Leadership Committee.
"At Notre Dame we have always — as an integral part of our holistic approach to education — encouraged the cultivation of habits aimed at fostering good health and wellness," said Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins. "This wonderful gift from Tripp and Sheila will provide our students, as well as faculty and staff, with a magnificent new facility where they can engage in many different forms of exercise and recreation. We are deeply grateful not only for this generous gift, which will make such a positive difference for our campus community, but also for the Smith family’s friendship and wise counsel over many years."