Queen's announces lead stadium donor

Guelph head football coach donates $10 million to Richardson Stadium replacement project

Queen’s has locked down a lead football stadium donor.

The University announced this morning that former Gaels football player Stu Lang will kickstart Queen’s long-awaited stadium project with a $10 million donation.

Yesterday, the Journal reported that Queen’s was negotiating a major donation towards a new football facility, which will eventually replace the 43-year-old Richardson Stadium.

Paul Hand, co-chair of the Fields & Stadium Campaign Committee, said earlier this week he was hopeful a deal with the prospective benefactor could be reached by spring.

Today, the Globe and Mail reported that Lang, a receiver with the Golden Gaels from 1970-73, will be the project’s lead donor.

Lang, Sci ’74, is currently the head football coach at Guelph, one of Queen’s biggest OUA rivals in recent seasons. The Gaels eliminated the Gryphons from the 2013 OUA playoffs at Richardson Stadium last November.

Lang also sits on the Board of Directors of CCL Industries, a Toronto-based packaging company, and formerly served as the company’s president.

Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf told the Journal today that the University had been in talks with Lang for a couple years prior to the announcement. An official agreement, he said, was reached in recent weeks.

“It’s obviously a great day for Queen’s when we get a gift of this size,” Woolf said. “The stadium has been an ongoing challenge for us in recent years, as people know, so it couldn’t be better timed.

“I think it’s an incredible gift, and it’s going to have a real transformative legacy for the University.”

Queen’s is planning to replace the degenerating Richardson Stadium with a new facility on West Campus, but all funding must be in place before any specific plans can begin.

Lang’s gift constitutes a little under half of Athletics’ fundraising goal of $25 million.

Hand told the Journal earlier this week that various donors have already pledged a collective $2-3 million to the stadium project – contingent on Queen’s securing a lead donation.

Now, with Lang and his $10 million gift in the fold, progress could accelerate significantly, according to the Principal.

“A lot of people have been waiting to contribute to a new stadium,” Woolf said. “This is a lead donation, and we call them lead donations because we hope they’ll bring in others. I am highly confident that there are others in the wings, waiting to add in and that are similarly excited about Mr. Lang’s vision of the project.”

In addition to securing the remaining necessary funds, Woolf said the University will consult the City of Kingston and neighbouring residents on West Campus to develop a strategy for the new stadium.

Queen’s Board of Trustees must approve any capital construction plans, once the school’s fundraising benchmark has been reached.

Woolf said it’s too early to pinpoint an exact timeline for constructing and opening the new facility, but added that he’s hopeful it’ll be ready for the University’s 175th anniversary in 2016.

“It is absolutely clear that we don’t build things at Queen’s unless we’ve identified all the money to build them,” Woolf said.

“It’s a great gift. It moves us, I think, 80 per cent of the way downfield towards our goal. We still have to get the ball into the end zone.”

Story updated at 2:50 p.m.

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