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Another big gift for UNC athletics

UNC-Chapel Hill has received its second big gift this week to support academic support for athletes and the ongoing expansion of Kenan Stadium.

Alumnus R. Charles "Charlie" Loudermilk Sr. has made a $7.5 million commitment to fund facilities supporting athletes as part of the Kenan Stadium renovation.

The commitment will create The Loudermilk Center for Excellence, a 150,000 square-foot facility being built on the stadium's east side. The center will serve all of Carolina's nearly 800 student-athletes across 28 sports.

As part of the Kenan Stadium renovation project, the Loudermilk Center is scheduled for completion in September 2011. The $70 million project is being funded by private gifts and premium seating sales.

The Loudermilk Center's largest feature will be the John W. Pope Student-Athlete Academic Support Center. This 29,000 square-foot facility will provide classrooms for teaching and tutoring, advanced computer technology, a writing lab, reading rooms and office space.

It also will be home to the Carolina Leadership Academy, which offers leadership training to Carolina student-athletes, coaches and staff.

The Raleigh-based John William Pope Foundation donated $3 million for that project, a gift announced earlier this week.
 
The Loudermilk Center will also house a strength and conditioning center for Carolina's Olympic sports programs, facilities for men's lacrosse and a visitor's locker room that can be split to host high school football championships. Other features include premium seating for fans watching football games, as well as office and operations space for the department of athletics.

"The Loudermilk Center is the heart of the Kenan project and will provide for one of the nation's top academic support facilities," said Dick Baddour, athletics director. "We are extremely grateful to Charlie for his generosity. Charlie loves his University and has supported it in so many ways. He was especially close to Charlie Justice, so it is fitting that the facility named for him is located in Kenan Stadium."

Loudermilk is chairman of Atlanta-based Aaron's Inc. A 1950 UNC graduate, he earned a bachelor's degree in commerce and now serves on the Board of Visitors of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

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