This evening the University of Vermont announced that it has received a $15 million gift from Rich and Deb Tarrant, Vermont philanthropists with strong ties to the University. The gift, one of the largest ever made to UVM and the largest capital gift in its history, will help bring the highly anticipated Multi-Purpose Center project to fruition. The Tarrants were recognized with an on-court presentation prior to the start of the men’s home basketball game versus St. Bonaventure.

The Multi-Purpose Center project includes construction of a new event center that will be home to UVM’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, and also host a variety of academic, social, cultural, and entertainment programming. This new facility will be named the “Tarrant Event Center” in recognition of their gift. The project also includes a major renovation of historic Gutterson Fieldhouse and significant upgrades to campus health, wellness, fitness, and recreation spaces.  The project is anticipated to start as early as this winter, and is scheduled to be completed in various stages throughout the 2020-21 academic year with minimal disruption to varsity athletics schedules. The total project cost is projected at $95 million, which will be funded through a combination of private philanthropic gifts and other institutional sources.

“While this is technically a gift to the University, universities are an integral part of the community,” noted Rich Tarrant. “They provide entertainment, jobs, healthcare, and are a place for people to come together. A university of this caliber, especially in a small community, is an incredible resource. Deb and I believe in investing in projects that have an impact far beyond campus, including projects like this one.”

“Rich and Deb Tarrant are exceptional friends and allies of this University,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan. “Their leadership as philanthropists and thought partners on our campus has had remarkably positive effects on our students and faculty, and on students and community members around Vermont. We are deeply grateful to them for this transformative investment in the future of UVM Athletics and the health and wellness of our campus community.”

“The Tarrants embody everything we work to instill in our student-athletes,” observed UVM Athletics Director Jeff Schulman ’89, “they’re passionate, hard-working, loyal, and know how to deliver in that crucial moment when success hangs in the balance. The Tarrant Event Center will be among the finest mid-major college basketball facilities in the country while also finally providing our campus with an appropriate event space for countless other activities. This is a facility that will be enjoyed by our teams, our fans, and the entire community for generations to come. I’m so honored to have Rich and Deb as partners in this exciting endeavor.”

Rendering of basketball court in interior of Tarrant Event Center

With this gift to the Multi-Purpose Center, the Tarrants become the second largest donors in UVM history. Previously, they have made substantial contributions focused on revolutionizing middle-level education through the establishment of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education in the College of Education and Social Services. They also have provided significant support for the UVM Cancer Center, the Larner College of Medicine, and the Dudley H. Davis Student Center, among other programs. In addition, the Tarrants have named a floor in the UVM Medical Center’s new Robert E. and Holly D. Miller Building in honor of dedicated hospital volunteers and supporters Allen and Bonnie Martin.

Within the Athletics Department, Rich played an instrumental role in securing funding for the Gucciardi Fitness & Recreation Center, which he named to recognize Richard and Mary Anne Gucciardi, long-time supporters of UVM Athletics and student-athletes. As part of the Multi-Purpose Facility project the Gucciardi Center will be transformed into a modern varsity athlete performance center with cutting-edge equipment and training space servicing all eighteen varsity athletic programs. In 2016, the UVM Foundation awarded Rich and Deb its Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award. 

Rich was a First Team All-American basketball player at Saint Michael’s College (the only one in school history) and was drafted by the NBA Boston Celtics in 1965. Five decades later, he still holds records in Vermont for the highest single-season and career scoring averages, among others. Rich is co-founder of IDX Systems Corporation—one of the nation’s leading healthcare technology companies (acquired by General Electric in 2006)—and the founder and chairman of Marathon Health. He served as a member of the University of Vermont’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000 and is the father of three sons who were all varsity athletes at UVM.

Deb is a summa cum laude graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She traveled the world as a buyer for major department stores and later directed the National Sales Accounting Department for Office Depot. She has served as the mayor of Hillsboro Beach, Florida since 2016 and in 2018 gave the commencement address to UVM’s College of Education and Social Services. Rich and Deb currently lead the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, one of the most active private foundations in Vermont.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the lead gift to this project is also the third largest gift in UVM history,” said UVM Foundation President and CEO Shane Jacobson. “The Tarrants’ commitment is a monumental vote of confidence for the Multi-Purpose Center and signals that the time really has come. With this remarkable momentum added to the philanthropic leadership already demonstrated by other supporters, we are attaining new heights for fundraising. It has been a great joy working with Rich and Deb to connect their passion to our vision for UVM’s future.” 

Rendering of Tarrant Event Center exterior

Fundraising for the Multi-Purpose Center project is a key component of Move Mountains: The Campaign for The University of Vermont, a comprehensive fundraising campaign for the University of Vermont and the University of Vermont Medical Center. Thanks to gifts from more than 70,000 alumni, parents, community members, and friends, the campaign has raised over $538 million to date. At UVM, these funds benefit a wide range of programs and initiatives to enhance teaching, research, and a broad range of student experiences.

To learn more about how you can support the Multi-Purpose Center project—including about opportunities to name spaces within the Center—visit go.uvm.edu/itstime or contact Director of Major Gifts for Athletics Chris Bernier at Chris.Bernier@uvm.edu or (802) 656-3910.

 

PUBLISHED

12-18-2018
Ben Yousey-Hindes