E. L. Wiegand Foundation Trustee Mario J. Gabelli and the Gabelli Foundation have announced a $1.5 million gift to name the Mario J. Gabelli Plaza at the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center, a four-story, 100,000-plus square-foot facility that will nearly triple the space dedicated to fitness and recreation at the University of Nevada, Reno.
"Learning and development extend beyond the classroom, and the total campus experience significantly contributes to the journey of students toward their future careers and lives as citizens," said University President Marc Johnson. "The E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center is going to ensure that our campus more fully integrates the wellness of our students into their daily lives. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Gabelli for generously supporting this milestone project."
The E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center, backed by an $8 million lead grant from the E. L Wiegand Foundation, will be constructed in the parking lot north of the Brian Whalen Parking Complex and will border North Virginia Street, completing a vision and trio of facilities for the University designed to nurture a student's mind (the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center), spirit (the Joe Crowley Student Union) and body.
"As a trustee of the E. L. Wiegand Foundation, I was moved by the University's vision of taking care of the 'whole student,'" said Gabelli, a national recognized investor, investment advisor, financial analyst and philanthropist. "I am proud to involve the Gabelli Foundation in the project and honored to include our family's name."
The nonprofit Gabelli Foundation was formed in 1985 and has made substantial gifts to Columbia Business School, Boston College, Roger Williams University, University of Miami, Fordham Preparatory School, Montefiore Childrens' Hospital School Health Program, the National Italian-American Foundation and the American-Italian Cancer Foundation.
The E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center is envisioned as offering multiple fitness areas for weightlifting, training and a multitude of other fitness classes and activities, plus an indoor, 200-meter, 1/8th mile running track. Three full-court gymnasiums will be utilized for basketball and other indoor-court sports. Construction of the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center will begin in 2014 and it is estimated to open in early 2017. The facility will be available to the University's students, faculty and staff.
Gabelli is the chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors, Inc., the firm he founded in 1977. A 1965 summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University's College of Business Administration, he also holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and honorary doctorates from Fordham University and Roger Williams University. Gabelli serves on the boards of Boston College, Roger Williams University, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation, the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture and is a trustee of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States and the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. Gabelli was Morningstar's Portfolio Manager of the Year in 1997. He was named Money Manager of the Year by Institutional Investor for 2011 and is a member of Barron's All Star Century Team.