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Athletic fund tops record-breaking $1 million

June 5, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Gary Athletic Fund set an all-time high this year, raising more than $1 million during its annual campaign, which concludes this month.

The fund raised $1,002,749 in 2007-2008, eclipsing its $950,000 goal by 5.5 percent and surpassing the $1 million mark for the first time in its 52-year history.

"In collegiate athletics, wins and losses and records broken are the factors by which we measure success," says WMU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kathy Beauregard. "Western Michigan University and the athletic department have broken a significant record in the area of annual giving. This is definitely a high point in our department's history and it challenges us to be committed to excellence each and every year."

A considerable portion of the total amount raised by the Gary Athletic Fund each year comes from its annual telephone campaign, which takes place in April and May. This year's drive, led by campaign chair Jerry Kuss and staffed entirely by volunteers, raised $476,310.

"The special effort our Gary Fund volunteers put forth each year is something special, and we are very fortunate to have them play such an integral role in our successes," says Rob Hunt, WMU Director of Athletic Development. "The Gary Fund is all about supporting the student-athletes of WMU and we are extremely appreciative for the support the Broncos receive from our alumni and friends."

The Gary Athletic Fund is essential in funding facility improvement projects, student-athlete scholarships and recruiting budgets at WMU. It was established in 1956 by a group of local business leaders and is named in honor of Mitchell "Mike" Gary, a longtime athletic director, head football coach and Hall of Famer at the University. Since falling under Hunt's direction in 2005, the fund has grown an average of 13 percent annually.

Media contact: Mat Kanan, (269) 387-4125, mat.kanan@wmich.edu

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