July 14, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- As a baseball player at Wisconsin, Steve Bennett made an immediate impact on the field. He led the Badgers in doubles and RBIs as a freshman and then earned All-America honors as a sophomore when he led the nation in doubles and ranked second in the Big Ten with a .458 batting average.
Now he’s looking to have the same sort of impact on the lives of student-athletes at UW.
The $86 million Stephen M. Bennett Student-Athlete Performance Center was completed in January and included renovations to Camp Randall Stadium and the McClain Center. The Wisconsin athletic department’s focus has always been on providing student-athletes with the very best in academic support, fitness training and sports medicine care and the new facility meets those goals.
The project added a three-story, 32,000-square foot addition to the north end of Camp Randall Stadium where the Fetzer Center for Student-Athlete Excellence and Forward Strength and Conditioning Center are located. It also included the renovation of the basement of the McClain Athletic Facility situated northeast of Camp Randall, which now houses a variety of team locker rooms, a strength training area, the Mueller Sports Medicine Center and the Leafblad Football Team Suite -- complete with player and coach locker rooms, team lounge, therapy pools and equipment room. The new Bud Selig Hall of Champions showcases some of UW’s tremendous athletic history and acts as a main entrance to the facility on the north end of Camp Randall Stadium.
With their $7 million lead gift to the SAPC project, Bennett and wife Marsha Jordan’s support was instrumental in allowing UW to fully meet the needs of its student-athletes, both on and off the field.
“Life success can be measured on multiple dimensions,” Bennett said. “Two that are important to me, other than family and friends, are career and athletic success. This investment will help future UW student-athletes be better prepared to achieve both academic and career success as they pursue excellence on the athletic front for both themselves and our great university.”
A Madison native who attended Madison West High School, Bennett grew up a Badger. His father, Steve, was a two-time letterwinner in football (1948, ’49).
In addition to his All-America honors, the younger Bennett was one of just five two-time All-Big Ten selections in UW baseball history and set school career records for hits, doubles and RBIs. He graduated from UW-Madison with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1976.
After graduation, Bennett spent 23 years with General Electric Company, finishing his career as Executive Vice President of GE Capital and as a member of the GE Capital board. Shortly after his time at GE, Bennett joined Intuit as President and CEO and was most recently the CEO of Symantec, one of the world’s largest software companies with more than 18,500 employees in more than 50 countries.
“We are incredibly indebted to Steve and his wife, Marsha, for their generosity,” said Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. “It is rewarding when one of our former student-athletes gives back to the department. The Stephen M. Bennett Student-Athlete Performance Center is a state-of-the-art facility that touches every aspect of our student-athletes’ lives. It reaffirms our commitment to their success academically, athletically and socially and will help prepare them for life once they leave campus.”