LU Launches Cardinal Athletics Fund

Left to Right: Lamar University President Dr. Jaime Taylor, Don Shaver '76, Nga Tea Do '08, Director of LU Athletics Jeff O'Malley and Dr. Dann Brown Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs


Lamar University has launched the Cardinal Athletics Fund, which will serve as the fundraising arm of LU Athletics aimed at impacting student-athletes representing 17 varsity sports at LU. A rebranding of the Bud Leonard Athletic Fund, the launch was kicked off by a generous donation from longtime LU supporters, Diane and Don Shaver ’76. 
“Fifty years ago, a group of Lamar University supporters launched the initiative to raise private support for Lamar University student athletes. As we celebrate the half-century mark of donors supporting LU Cardinals, we are delighted to announce the re-branding initiative to tie us back to the founding of this program,” said LU President Dr. Jaime Taylor. “Stacy and I are honored to be among the first to support the Lamar University Cardinals through the Cardinal Athletics Fund, and to be a part of honoring our past while looking forward to an amazing future of Lamar University Athletics. Go Big Red!” 
A transition from previous years, the Cardinal Athletics Fund will focus more on annual giving to the athletics fund instead of sport specific giving. The fund also will include a point-based system where donors accrue points based on giving and season ticket purchases. Fans can still donate to a specific sport, but the point system will not be connected with those donations. 
The benefits of the point system include prime parking and tailgating locations, best seat options at LU home events, special events, social activities and the first opportunity at postseason tickets when the Cardinals advance to the NCAA Championships.  
The backbone of any athletics department’s fundraising is having a strong athletics fund. In order for the Cardinals to have the resources needed to compete for championships on a yearly basis strong membership levels need to be competitive with peer institutions.  
“We’re very excited to announce the rebranding of the Cardinal Athletics Fund,” said LU Director of Athletics Jeff O’Malley. “Our mission is to help provide the necessary resources to our student-athletes so they can succeed in the competition arena and classroom. We want to create a brand that is more easily identifiable, more inclusive, and one that honors our past while preparing Lamar University Athletics for the future. We believe the Cardinals Athletics Fund is a strong connection to Cardinals everywhere.” 
Athletics development is now working in conjunction with University Advancement, and together they will announce soon that the LU letterwinners’ club will be renamed in honor of the late Bud Leonard (1929-2020), a beloved figure in LU athletics and the university’s history.

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