U of L Partners With Maker's Mark For New Academic Center

Here's a portion of this afternoon's release:

Student athletes at the University of Louisville facing the challenge of balancing school work with their athletic pursuits will soon have a new teammate on their side; an $8 million, state-of-the-art academic center focused on helping them keep up with their studies and to be as successful in the classroom as in their chosen sport.

The Academic Center of Excellence will be located beneath the Norton Terrace at the South end of the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The center will house the academic operations for the entire athletic department and all student-athletes and academic staff will be located in one building. The center will feature tutorial areas, laboratories, office areas and classroom space. Fundraising is just getting underway for the facility.

"The Academic Center of Excellence addresses a critical need for our department and what we need for our student athletes to be successful academically," said Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich.

To help pay for the new facility, special commemorative bottles of Maker's Mark®, a handmade bourbon produced in Loretto, Ky., are being produced featuring a unique bottle design, including an image of U of L head football coach Charlie Strong. Proceeds from the sales will help the university fund the academic center.

"We are grateful to the Samuels family and Maker's Mark for their involvement," added Jurich. "It's a crucial project for the development of our athletic program. Maker's Mark is an iconic name in the Commonwealth and we appreciate their involvement in this great opportunity for our department."

"The University of Louisville has played a vital role in my family and the history of Maker's Mark since both of my grandparents - who created the brand - were graduates of U of L, and my father served on the board of trustees," said Rob Samuels, Chief Operating Officer at Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc. "Knowing how important higher education is, Maker's Mark is excited to support the new athletic academic center with the release of this special bottle. And we're proud to feature Coach Strong on the label, particularly considering all he's done for the university and the players he leads."

Not a bad sponsor to have in your corner. Well done, TJ and company.

Maker's Mark apparently isn't going to be involved in the naming process for the new academic center, so I say we give that right to the man who got the ball rolling on this relationship: Matt Swafford.

I'm thinking "Gorgui Dieng Academic CENTER" (Get it!?), but that's just an initial suggestion.

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