Land O'Lakes gives $25M to U of M, boosts athletics facilities plan


Land O'Lakes has pledged to give $25 million to the University of Minnesota – $21 million of it earmarked for new athletics complex facilities and programs.

The pledge – one of the university's largest single corporate donations ever – offers a big boost to the school's ambitious plan for a $190 million athletics village.

“This is what we have been waiting for,” Athletics Director Norwood Teague told the Star Tribune. “...Land O’Lakes has given us a huge shot in this campaign."

Teague a year ago unveiled a grand eight-year vision for his department – a new $190 million athletics village that would include new practice facilities for the football and basketball teams, an academic center for athletes, a women's gymnastics training facility, a wresting training facility, and indoor and outdoor facilities for Olympic sports. Since then, he's been trying to drum up private donations, with few notable big successes.

“This is a long step forward,” former Gophers hockey player Lou Nanne, who is leading the U of M's $190 million fundraising effort, told the Star Tribune. “Minnesota corporations haven’t become partners with the university like they should, and for Land O’Lakes to do this — to lead the way — is a real good feather in its hat.”

Arden Hills-based Land O'Lakes' donation would include $15 million for a 60,000-square-foot facility that would be a "centerpiece" of the new athletics village, according to a U of M press release. It will house academic and leadership development programs, as well as a training table for athletes that serves food based on their nutritional needs. The building has an expected opening of fall 2016.

Here's how the rest of the Land O'Lakes pledge would be doled out, according to the university:

Athletics Department

  • $3,350,000 for program support for activities in the Center for Excellence with a specific focus on the Student-Athlete Leadership Development Center and the Gopher Connect Program.
  • $2,687,500 for support of various intercollegiate athletic sponsorship and events

Carlson School of Management

  • $2.5 million to establish the endowed Land O'Lakes Chair in Marketing. Carlson School of Management professor Kathleen Vohs has been selected to fill this chair.

College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

  • $1 million to support scholarships and programming for students.

Another $375,000 would be used to support Welcome Week activities at the U, as well as pay for an annual agriculture symposium; and yet another $87,500 would support college programming.

“This announcement underscores our commitment to educational excellence and further strengthens our investment in the pipeline of talent from the University of Minnesota,” said Christopher Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

University President Eric W. Kaler planned to join Policinski at a Wednesday afternoon news conference on Northrop Mall on the University’s East Bank to formally announce the $25 million pledge.

Here's a video from July 2013 when Teague outlined a vision for the $190 million plan:

Next Up

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.


Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Flickr - smoke McGregor minnesota wildfire July 29 2021 - Lorie Shaull

'Unprecedented': The wildfire smoke isn't going anywhere this weekend

The air quality alert that was supposed to end Friday is now in effect into early next week.

Alexis Saborit

Charges: Woman killed in horrific Shakopee attack was trying to leave suspect

The shocking incident happened at an intersection Wednesday afternoon.

3M Open, Tony Finau

Multiple injuries after pickup crashes into shuttle bus at 3M Open

Blaine police listed 25 people as being involved in the collision.


Land O'Lakes profits rebound in 3Q

Land O'Lakes Inc. posted net income of $18 million in the third-quarter, compared to a $30 million loss a year earlier, the Star Tribune reports. The Arden Hills-based co-op also reported a seven percent increase in sales.