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Distributed September 8, 2004
Contact Mark Nickel

Brown Receives $20M in Gifts To Establish Campus Fitness Center

Lead gifts from three Brown alumni will allow the University to establish a campus fitness center. Brown President Ruth J. Simmons announced the gifts and the new center during her remarks at the University’s 241st Opening Convocation on Tuesday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown President Ruth J. Simmons announced Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004, that the University has received three gifts totaling $20 million in support of a new fitness center for the campus. Simmons spoke at noontime during the University’s 241st Opening Convocation.

The gifts come from Brown alumni who are current or former University trustees. Jonathan M. Nelson, a University trustee and 1977 graduate, provided the lead gift for the center, which will be named the Nelson Fitness Center. Fredric B. Garonzik, a trustee emeritus and 1964 graduate, and an anonymous alumnus who is also a trustee each provided additional gifts in support of the center’s construction.

“A fitness center has been high on the list of priorities for campus life at Brown,” Simmons said. “On behalf of all of us at Brown, I wish to thank these three great friends of Brown for helping the University get this important project underway.”

A site for the new fitness center, a facility of approximately 50,000 square feet, has not yet been selected. The Brown Corporation, the University’s governing body, will likely receive a recommendation that the center be built in the vicinity of existing athletic facilities near Lloyd Avenue and Hope Street. The site location for any new building must be determined by the Corporation, which must also authorize the administration to proceed with project planning and architect selection. The Corporation may consider the project at its regular fall meeting in mid-October.

“Health, fitness and the opportunity to spend time with friends in a recreational setting are an important part of our plan to build a shared sense of community,” said David Greene, vice president for campus life and student services. “The Nelson Fitness Center will offer a broad range of fitness programs and services and will become an important part of daily life on campus.”

During the summer, the University built and furnished two satellite fitness facilities, which are now open for student use. Each of them – one in Emery Hall, the other in Bigelow Lounge in Keeney Quad – can accommodate 25 to 30 people, providing strength and aerobic conditioning equipment as well as stretching areas. The new satellite fitness facilities and an existing facility in the Bear’s Lair are meant to complement the larger campus fitness center and offer students another option for exercise during the day.

The University’s main athletic facilities – Meehan Auditorium (ice rink), Pizzitola Sports Center, Olney-Margolies Athletic Center and the Smith Swim Center – support a substantial sports and recreation program with a high level of participation.

Brown’s Department of Athletics and Physical Education offers courses in aerobics and fitness, aquatics, self-defense, leisure sports and other fitness programs to more than 2,700 persons each year. The intramural program organizes activities for more than 3,000 participants at a variety of skill levels. Club sports, which provide intercollegiate competition at the varsity level, serve 250 athletes, and more approximately 1,000 student athletes compete on Brown’s 37 NCAA Division-I varsity teams for men and women.


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