Longtime Tulane supporters Don and Lora Peters have increased their recent commitment to Tulane Athletics to over $10 million, which will serve as a lead gift for “Investing in Excellence,” a major capital campaign to upgrade facilities and infrastructure across the university’s athletic programs.
The Peters’ gift arrives as Tulane is experiencing unprecedented competitive success — including the 2023 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic football victory, the baseball team’s 2023 American Athletic Conference title, the sailing team’s 2022 ICSA Open Dinghy National Championship, and the women’s golf team’s first-ever AAC Championship. Tulane Athletics leaders say a key to sustaining the current momentum is to improve and expand existing facilities and construct new ones to enhance the student-athlete experience.
“Don and Lora Peters have displayed, time and again, an extraordinary dedication to our student-athletes that goes well beyond wins on the field and focuses on enhancing their overall growth as students, athletes and individuals,” Tulane President Michael A. Fitts said. “This tremendous gift adds another dimension to the remarkable legacy these devoted supporters are establishing for our players, coaches and staff.”
A portion of the gift has already been used to upgrade Tulane’s training facility in the Wilson Center, where student-athletes undergo pregame and practice preparation as well as illness and injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The improvements provide medical, hydrotherapy, rehabilitation and support space for the university’s 410 student-athletes. The ultimate plan is to build out additional space as a part of a dedicated sports performance center.
“The football team’s Cotton Bowl victory and the success of teams and individuals throughout our athletics program has electrified and united the Tulane community,” said Don Peters, a 1981 Tulane graduate who serves on the Board of Tulane’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and, along with Lora, is a member of the Olive and Blue Society. “And our student-athletes are excelling not just in sports but in the classroom year after year, with 183 of them making the AAC All-Academic Team in 2022-23 and 68 percent achieving 3.0 or higher GPAs. Tulane Athletics boasts a 93 percent graduation success rate. Now is the time to invest in even greater excellence. I encourage everyone to step up to the plate and give our Green Wave teams the resources they need to sustain our wave of success.”
Tulane Athletics hopes to raise more than $70 million through the Investing in Excellence campaign. Student-athletes are the focus of the campaign, with Tulane Athletics leaders noting that when these students choose Tulane, they’re making a 40-year decision, not just a four-year plan, because attending Tulane is an investment in the rest of their lives, including their professional careers. To help them get the most out of their long-term investment in Tulane, Athletics leaders seek to provide state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to help ensure the best possible experience for student health, welfare and performance.
Primary goals of the Investing in Excellence campaign include renovating the James W. Wilson Jr. Center and building an attached sports performance facility, installing a multipurpose indoor practice facility for football and other programs, upgrading the turf in Yulman and Turchin Stadiums, and building a new tennis complex.
The campaign has already supported the recently completed renovations to the natatorium, and will also fund a new multipurpose headquarters for Tulane’s varsity sailing program and Community Sailing New Orleans thanks to a $2.75 million gift from Libby and Robert Alexander.