Bob, Marianne Foote donate $250K to help UMass finish academic success center

  • The UMass athletic department announced on Thursday a $250,000 donation by Bob and Marianne Foote to help finish the Bob and Marianne Foote Academic Success Center in the Boyden Building. The project is expected to by finished in August. GAZETTE FILE

Published: 6/8/2018 4:10:54 PM

UMass announced Thursday the creation of the Bob and Marianne Foote Academic Success Center in the Boyden Building.

Thanks to a $250,000 gift by the Footes, the project is a complete renovation and modernization of the existing academic support space in the building along with enhanced meeting and office space for student-athletes and the academic success staff.

The renovation is expected to be completed in August. It will offer UMass student-athletes more space and better technology for individual, group and collaborative learning, while providing comprehensive resources overall.

“I was the first person in my family to ever go to college,” Bob Foote said in a statement released by the department.

Foote grew up in Northampton and starred for the high school football team in the 1950s.

“Without the scholarship and academic support, I may not have been able to do that and complete my degree work,” he added. “I feel that I owe UMass and we’re happy to do whatever we can to support current and future student-athletes. I’ve been lucky, things have worked out well for me, and my days at UMass had a lot to do with my success.”

One of the all-time greats on the gridiron for the Minutemen, Foote is a member of the George “Trigger” Burke Hall of Fame Class of 2004. Foote earned three letters as an offensive and defensive tackle in 1958, 1960 and 1961. He became only the second All-America selection in school history during the 1961 season.

Marianne Foote graduated from UMass in 1977.

“Bob and Marianne Foote have been tremendous supporters of the flagship university and our athletics program for a number of years,” UMass athletic Director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “They especially appreciate how a renovated Academic Success Center will directly impact our current student-athletes and future Minutemen and Minutewomen. Our sincere thanks to Bob and Marianne for investing in our future, allowing us to create a first-class educational experience that will prepare our young people for life after UMass.”

The new academic area will support environments for academic advising, learning specialists, one-on-one and group tutoring, workshops and seminars, and private rooms for individual counseling. The facility will also include three expansive lounge areas to foster peer-to-peer learning among student-athletes from all sports.

The academic success center and new offices will increase its overall size from 4,000 square feet to over 6,000. It will offer movable lounge furniture to support group tutoring sessions and independent learning. Every room will have updated technology including flat screen monitors, computers, and Solstice screen-sharing pods.

A new, central academic advisor office will also be created. This space will house eight full-time academic staff members, becoming the hub of interaction between learning professionals and student-athletes, while offering spaces for private one-on-one tutoring sessions.

While the department has moved forward with the $750,000 project, private support is still needed to help defray the overall cost.

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