Whitman donates to football facility

Whitman donates to football facility

Josh Whitman has taken a vested interest in the new football facility currently under construction on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

Rightfully so since the Illinois athletic director helped launch the creation of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Center that is slated to open this July.

On Wednesday, Whitman and his wife, Hope, announced a $100,000 donation to the construction of the newest venue for Illini football.

The gift will name a corridor in the building that recognizes all former letterwinners as the Josh and Hope Whitman Alumni Hall, which will feature an interactive display featuring the names of all former Illinois football players, along with select accomplishments, photographers and videos.

"Hope and I are making this gift to solidify our personal commitment, both financially and emotionally, to this transformative project and the benefits it will provide for our student-athletes and our program," Whitman said in a statement. "As a former player, I feel especially committed to ensuring all letterwinners feel welcome and connected to this program. As with every college football team, bridging the gap between generations can be a challenge, and it was a priority for me in designing and building the Smith Center."

Whitman played football at Illinois from 1997 to 2000, contributing as a tight end with 52 career catches for 552 yards and seven touchdowns, playing a key role on the 1999 team that finished 8-4 and won the Micronpc.com Bowl.

Whitman returned to his alma mater as the Illini's athletic director in February 2016.

The Smith Center is an $80 million project, with more than $6.5 million donated by former Illini players.