Kansas University alumni Kent and Missy McCarthy have donated the lead gift for the financing of Phase 1 of the Fieldhouse Apartments project at KU.
Kansas Athletics recognized the gift during the first media timeout at Monday night’s KU men’s basketball game vs. Oklahoma. The McCarthys were joined in Allen Fieldhouse by Kent’s father, Charles, and their children — Molly, Annie and Charlie.
The apartments, which will house the men’s basketball team and an equal number of distinguished non-student-athletes, will be built on Naismith Drive, just south of Allen Fieldhouse.
The apartments will be named for Kent’s late mother, Marie S. McCarthy. Born in 1929, Marie grew up on a farm in central Kansas during the dust bowl days of the 1930’s. She attended KU on a math scholarship – a rarity for women in that era.
“My mother loved everything about the University of Kansas and the State of Kansas,” Kent McCarthy said in a press release. “She never missed watching a KU basketball game. My father Charles, who thankfully is still with us, and Marie were married for 62 years, and I think the only thing ‘Grams’ loved more than Kansas basketball was being a grandmother.”
McCarthy said he and Missy appreciate the efforts of Kansas Athletics and KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little for their help getting the project off the ground.
"We are honored to kick off the campaign for this project,” he said. “We strongly believe this endeavor will help keep the Kansas basketball brand among the strongest in the country, and will be an appropriate benefit for the student-athletes who do so much for the University and the State of Kansas.”
The McCarthys have been generous donors to the University of Kansas for many years. Earlier this year they committed $1.25 million to KU’s School Business. In 1988 Kent, a graduate of the KU School of Business, started – and has since helped fund – the Applied Portfolio Management (APM) class at KU, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with investment decisions.
Earlier Monday, KU basketball coach Bill Self expressed his appreciation to the McCarthys.
“Kent and Missy’s generosity has made a huge difference at our university, and it will also help keep Kansas basketball a national leader,” Self said in the release. “We have the best venue, and we will have the best housing. I see a world of positive in this project as we strive to maintain and even exceed what the Kansas basketball program has been achieving. We renovated Allen Fieldhouse, the locker rooms and the offices. We built an academic center and a practice facility. Housing is an important component as well.
“These things are very, very significant for the benefit, development and overall experience of our student-athletes,” Self continued. “We want them to be comfortable and have the same type of living conditions as the programs we're recruiting against.”
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said the project plays an important role in KU's ongoing effort to ensure that its men’s basketball program remains among the best in the nation.