FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former Razorback football student-athlete and member of Arkansas' 1964 national championship football team, Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, have made a gift of $10.65 million to Razorback Athletics it was announced today.
The gift will help support:
- The soon to be completed Student-Athlete Success Center
- A Wild Band of Razorbacks monument to establish a permanent tribute to the Razorbacks' 1964 national championship football team
- The football team locker room at the Fred W. Smith Football Center
- The entrance lobby of the Student-Athlete Success Center
In recognition of the Jones' gift, a recommendation has been made to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees to name the new facility the Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center. The Board will consider the resolution during its regularly scheduled meetings today and tomorrow in Little Rock.
Other recognitions of the gift include the Wild Band of Razorbacks monument made possible by Jerry Jones. The football locker room at the Fred W. Smith Football Center will be named the Jerry and Stephen Jones Locker Room, while the entrance lobby of the proposed Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will be named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John Chambers, Gene Jones' parents.
"We are grateful to the Jones family for their extraordinary gift which will directly benefit the development of Razorback student-athletes for many years to come," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "It is only fitting that the Jones family, which is committed to the ideals of higher education and has been so deeply intertwined with the University of Arkansas for decades, is an integral part of the most impactful intercollegiate athletics' facility we will have on campus. The Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will serve as inspiration to all current and future Razorback student-athletes, reminding them of the limitless opportunities available when they combine a degree from a nationally respected institution with the invaluable experiences gained through competing in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Arkansas."
"The University of Arkansas is a special place and has meant so much to me and our entire family," Jerry Jones said. "We are honored to have the opportunity to give back to an institution, an athletics program and a state that has been such an instrumental part of our lives. My experiences at the University of Arkansas as a student-athlete under the legendary Coach Frank Broyles helped shape me as a man and guide me on my future career path. I would not be where I am today without those life lessons learned as a student-athlete at the University of Arkansas.
"Today under the leadership of Jeff Long, the Razorback program continues to provide those opportunities to young men and women competing for the University of Arkansas. I hope that in some way our gift can help provide the same transformational experience to all those student-athletes who choose to become Arkansas Razorbacks."
The proposed Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will address the academic, nutritional, personal and professional development of more than 460 student-athletes and will create an integrated academic support program focused on the graduation of all student-athletes at the University of Arkansas.
The Student-Athlete Success Center will become the new home of the Bogle Academic Center and will help meet the needs of student-athletes by providing multiple learning environments including academic advising and course preparation, leadership training through the Razorback Leadership Academy, career planning and service learning. The facility is being constructed at the corner of Meadow Street and Stadium Drive between Pomfret Hall and John McDonnell Field and is targeted for completion in late summer/early fall 2015.
The approximate 55,000 sq. foot (SF) facility will include 30+ tutor rooms, 5,000 SF of open study and lounge space, 3,800 SF of computer and group lab space, a 125+ seat auditorium, 90+ seat multi-purpose room, a nutrition center with a full-service kitchen and seating for more than 250 student-athletes, a wellness wing for a sports psychologist and dieticians as well as areas specific to Student-Athlete Development and Accelerated Learning.
The "Wild Band of Razorbacks" monument, made possible by Jerry Jones, will consist of six Razorbacks, accented by custom lighting and water features. The bronze monument will be placed along Razorback Road on the northwest corner of the lawn of the Fred W. Smith Football Center, just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The full monument will be approximately 20 feet high and 30 feet wide, with bronze Razorback hogs six feet tall and 12 to 14 feet long.
In 1909, Arkansas head football coach Hugo Bezdek spoke to a gathering of fans at the Fayetteville train station after the football team returned from a win over LSU in Memphis. Coach Bezdek proclaimed that his team played "like a wild band of razorback hogs." The nickname took and in 1910, University of Arkansas students formally adopted the Razorbacks as the official school mascot.
The 1964 Razorbacks recorded an 11-0 season, culminated by a 10-7 win over Nebraska in the Cotton Bowl. Arkansas finished as the only undefeated team in the nation that season and was awarded the national championship by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Helms Foundation.
Designed as a complete work of art, the monument includes six Razorbacks representing individual characteristics indicative of the University of Arkansas and the Razorback Nation – Passion, Courage, Victory, Integrity, Unity and a Relentless Nature.
The monument was designed by master sculptor Dick Idol. Idol says that when completed the "Wild Band of Razorbacks" monument will be one of the "the finest and most spectacular mascot based sculptures in North America."
The Jerry and Stephen Jones Locker Room in the Fred W. Smith Football Center is the daily home of Razorback Football and is named in honor of the two former Razorback football student-athletes. Jerry Jones played for the Razorbacks from 1962-64 while his son Stephen Jones played for the Razorbacks from 1984-87.
The entrance lobby of the Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will be named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John Chambers. The Chambers are the parents of Gene Jones.
Jerry is Owner, President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys. Stephen is Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Director of Player Personnel with the Cowboys. In addition, Stephen is the chairman of the Never Yield steering committee, an athletics' initiative as part of the University's Campaign Arkansas.
"As a former student-athlete and proud graduate of the University of Arkansas, I am excited to be part of a campaign designed to raise support for the Razorback program," Stephen Jones said. "I am grateful for the tremendous influence the University of Arkansas had on me. And now, serving in a leadership role within this campaign, I have discovered that it is even more imperative that we work together to provide our student-athletes with the support they need to achieve academically and compete athletically in one the nation's most difficult conferences."
"We appreciate Stephen's leadership in helping raise support for future generations of Razorback student-athletes," Long said. "His love for the Razorbacks and passion for his alma mater are apparent in his efforts to give back to his University."
The Jones' gift is a combination of cash to be paid over a five-year period and land donated to the Razorback Foundation, Inc. The Razorback Foundation, a separate and self-supporting nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity, serves as the fundraising arm of the University of Arkansas Athletic Department.
On Dec. 31, 2014, Jones deeded approximately 256 acres of land to the Razorback Foundation. The land was independently appraised in March 2014 at a value of $8.65 Million. There are no immediate plans for use of the land.
For more information regarding Razorback Athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.