Correction: An earlier version of this story spelled the McMurry's name incorrectly.
A Legislative update and an honorary building naming were the main topics of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees’ monthly meeting Wednesday morning.
A new expansion to the Rochelle Athletics Center will be named the Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center after unanimous trustee approval.
“When looking across the campus, you get a feel for the rich heritage of the last 12-plus years by the names of the building,” Massie said. “You get a feel for the various people who have contributed to this university over the years, and adding the McMurrys to that, I think, is wonderful. It’s not so much because of the money they’ve given for this specific building, but everything they’ve done for this university and the state over the years.”
The McMurry Foundation’s mission is to promote education, religion, child advocacy, the arts, health care and business development in Wyoming.
The McMurrys donated $6 million to the project — half of the private funds needed for completion, UW Foundation President Ben Blalock said.
While people who have donated half of the private funds for a building historically have the building named after them, there is no official building-naming process.
“These two folks deserve it for what they’ve done for the state,” Massie said.
The expansion is meant to allow student athletes superior training opportunities. The Rochelle Athletic Center will keep its name.
In other UW trustee news, professors and administrators involved in the Science Initiative have spent time in Cheyenne speaking with legislators, explaining the importance of the project and a new building.
$30 million is already set aside for the new facility, while the Legislature could approve the remaining $70 million in the current budget.
Trustee John McKinley said UW Athletics Director Tom Burman also made a trip over to Cheyenne and will continue to answer any questions posed by legislators, mainly about a request for $8 million in match money.
An amendment that would eliminate the matching funds was introduced in the House on Wednesday.
It will need to pass both the House and Senate to be integrated into the budget bills.
Another bill introduced in the Legislature concerns the UW medical education program, Trustee Mike Massie said.
“(It) would provide and set up an oversight committee made up of folks outside the University of Wyoming that would provide oversight of UW’s medical education program and also, specifically, be the entity that would hire the director of the WAMMI Program,” he said.
The university’s Legislative Day is scheduled for Saturday, where legislators are invited to UW.
“It’s an opportunity for the trustees, president’s office and administration to interact with the legislators,” Trustee John McKinley said. “It’s an important event. I would urge the trustees that have the opportunity to go down on Saturday and attend that event.”
The transition process, started in 2015, meant to prepare incoming UW President Laurie Nichols for her job is also continuing, current UW President Dick McGinity said.
“At this point, each of the vice presidents, with the exception of General Counsel (Rick Miller), have met with President Designate Nichols in person,” he said. “We are moving, now, into the process of arranging visits by each of the deans.”
Nichols is set to be on campus this weekend to participate in the Legislator’s Day on Saturday.
The process will continue until she takes over the president’s office May 16.
“One of our highest priorities is that the new president takes the office ready to go,” he said.
McGinity also plans on staying available until she is fully accustomed to her position.
The exterior design of both the Engineering Building and the Arena-Auditorium renovation was approved in a Trustee vote. Both the exterior design advisory committee and the facility committee have already approved the designs.
The next trustee meeting is March 23-24.