RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This November, when VCU tips off its latest basketball season, it will do so inside the newly renamed E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.
On Thursday, VCU Athletics announced a 10-year naming rights pact with Jeff and Janet Wade, the owners and founders of E.J. Wade Construction and the E.J. Wade Foundation, located in Mechanicsville.
“VCU is a very special place to me and my family, with four of my children having graduated from the University,” said Jeff Wade. “As a family, we owe a lot of our success to VCU. Basketball has become one of our passions, and we feel fortunate to have been able to develop a very good relationship with the current Athletics Department and Men’s Basketball coaching staffs.”
Wade explained his rationale behind the decision.
“We really believe in the vision of the department, and specifically as it relates to basketball. Our financial support is a way for us to demonstrate our belief in VCU Athletics and VCU Basketball,” he said. “And we strongly believe in the scholarships it will provide to help students excel academically; preparing them to succeed in life.“
The 10-year deal, $2.75 million naming-rights agreement replaces VCU’s previous agreement with Verizon which had provided $165,000 annually. The Wades have also pledged additional funds as part of their agreement that will make their total financial commitment to VCU Athletics to $4.05 million over ten years.
“The generosity of the entire Wade family is humbling and inspiring,” said VCU Vice President and Director of Athletics and Ed McLaughlin. “Jeff and Janet have shown incredible philanthropy in the Central Virginia community and the naming of the E.J. Wade Arena is the perfect example. This gift will have a direct impact on our student-athletes’ experience and development at VCU. We love having the E.J. Wade family involved with the Rams and we look forward to a long relationship.”
E.J. Wade Construction has grown since its founding in 1991 into a successful and respected multi-faceted regional business that has performed everything from utility work and substation construction to highway cleaning, as well as numerous commercial, industrial and residential projects.
In 2013, the couple created the E.J. Wade Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in various philanthropic ventures, including support for orphanages in Niger, Africa, disaster preparedness and relief, as well as rheumatoid arthritis patient assistance. The Wades have also been a driving force in recent years in many of VCU Athletics’ fundraising initiatives, and son Josh currently sits on VCU’s Ram Athletic Fund Board.
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