PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University announced today that two philanthropic families—the Taylors of Hayden Lake, Idaho and the Christiansons of Burlington, Washington—have joined forces to launch a $6 million challenge to help boost fundraising for the construction of the Indoor Practice Facility and the renovation of the Champions Complex on WSU’s Pullman campus.

Scott and Lisa Taylor made a $2 million investment to the Indoor Practice Facility in 2019—at the time the largest cash gift in WSU Athletics history. Today, they are poised to more than double that investment through a new challenge to match up to $5 million in new pledges committed to the project by Aug. 31, 2021.

Ken and Sue Christianson have also stepped up with a generous commitment to match up to $1 million for all new pledges made to the Champions Complex by the same deadline.

“On behalf of Cougar Athletics, we say ‘thank you’ to the Taylors and the Christiansons for their thoughtful commitment to WSU,” said Pat Chun, director of Cougar Athletics. “They are the epitome of what being a Cougar is all about, and their philanthropic investments will impact countless student-athletes in the decades to come.”

“We are thrilled that both the Taylors and the Christiansons decided to make this deep philanthropic investment in Cougar Athletics and in the success of our student-athletes,” said Mike Connell, acting vice president of advancement and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “Their leadership exemplifies the loyal spirit of generosity among the Cougar family— which, today more than ever, is vital to sustaining WSU’s forward trajectory.”

A new indoor practice facility is crucial to maintaining WSU’s competitiveness in the Pac-12 and on the national stage. The facility will be used by virtually all of WSU’s sports teams, and is especially important to football. Because the weather in the Palouse region can be unpredictable, the facility will ensure that student-athletes will have a safe place to train year-round, regardless of weather conditions.

A rendering of WSU's proposed indoor practice facility
A new indoor practice facility is crucial to maintaining WSU’s competitiveness in the Pac-12 and on the national stage.

The Champions Complex will house space for academics, professional development and mental health. Currently spread across two buildings, these units will be combined into a single hub within the renovation. When completed, the Champions Complex will centralize staff into one building, open up expanded academic space, and offer WSU’s 450+ student-athletes a full range of services: from team weights in the performance center, to one-on-one tutoring sessions in the academic center, to private counseling for mental health and other well-being issues.

Because the cost of these facilities will be covered entirely by philanthropic support, these gifts will be essential to fast-tracking the timeline to funding completion.

“The Taylors and Christiansons are at the forefront to make these projects a reality,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “The Indoor Practice Facility and Champions Complex are transformational projects and, because of their leadership and generosity to Cougar Athletics and WSU, we are very close to putting a shovel in the ground.”

“The memories that Washington State University and Cougar Athletics have given us are a treasured part of our lives,” said alumni Scott and Lisa Taylor. “The Indoor Practice Facility is a critical project for the athletic department. Our hope with this match is to inspire Cougars to give and help propel the fundraising efforts across the finish line.”

Also proud WSU alumni, Ken and Sue Christianson express similar fondness for their longstanding WSU connection. “As lifelong Cougars, we have a special sense of pride to witness the achievements by Cougar student-athletes, on the field and in the classroom,” the Christiansons said. “The Champions Complex will be a catalyst for WSU student-athletes, giving them the tools to achieve their goals for life after WSU.”

For more information about the Indoor Practice Facility and the Champions Complex, and to learn how you can be a part of these historic projects for WSU Athletics, contact the Cougar Athletic Fund office at 1-877-IMA-COUG, athletics.CAF@wsu.edu or visit cougarathleticfund.com.

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