Alumnus, standout Suh donates $2.6 million to UNL

Released on 04/17/2010, at 2:00 PM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., April 17th, 2010 —
Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh

The 2009 Associated Press Player of the Year and winner of the Lombardi, Outland, Bednarik and Nagurski football awards -- Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh -- announced today he will donate $2 million for use in the Nebraska Athletics for Strength and Conditioning Program and an additional $600,000 to the UNL College of Engineering to endow a scholarship.

A near sellout crowd cheered this unprecedented gift he announced today at the Husker Spring Game. A defensive tackle who completed his career at Nebraska, Suh graduated with a bachelor's degree in construction management from the College of Engineering at UNL in December. He is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2010 NFL draft after totaling 215 tackles in his career with 57 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, six blocked kicks, 15 pass breakups and 38 quarterback hurries.

Suh completed his career at Nebraska as the most decorated defensive player ever to don the Husker uniform, finishing fourth in the 2009 Heisman race. He is also the first former Husker player and the first African-American letter winner to commit a generous gift back to the University in advance of the draft and NFL career.

After he signs his NFL contract, Suh has pledged to give $2 million to athletics for renovations and updates in the north stadium strength and conditioning center, where he spent so many hours training to become the very best player he could be.

"I had a fantastic football career at Nebraska and thanks to my coaches and support staff, I have learned the value of hard work, teamwork and life skills," Suh said. "These skills will help me tremendously as I prepare for my career in the NFL. As a thank-you to everyone in Nebraska who has assisted me on my collegiate journey, I want to donate $2 million to the Athletic Department.

"When speaking with Guy Rozier, Coach Bo Pelini and Tom Osborne about the gift, I specifically asked that this gift be used to help other future Huskers as they train in the strength and conditioning center. This incredible facility helped me earn all the honors I was so privileged to receive this past season, and I believe this gift can help make this facility the very best in the country. This is my way to honor my teammates, coaches and fans by giving back to a program and a university that has given so much to me."

"This donation from Ndamukong Suh is the largest single gift we have received from a former player," Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. "We appreciate Ndamukong's generosity to the athletic department, and we also appreciate his commitment to education, as he earned an Engineering degree, and appreciate the type of leadership he provided for our football team this past year. He is truly a credit to the football program and the university as a whole."

"Gifts from our former student-athletes send an important message," said Paul Meyers, Associate Athletic Director for Development. "It re-enforces our hope that what we are doing here at Nebraska is making a difference in their lives beyond athletics."

Suh also plans to donate an additional $600,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit students enrolled in UNL's College of Engineering. Suh is a graduate of the engineering college's Charles Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. Suh asked that students from his high school, Grant High School in Portland, Ore., be given first preference for the scholarship he is creating. He said he wanted to help out-of-state students, who pay considerably more than in-state students for tuition to attend the University of Nebraska. Suh's gift will be endowed, which means the principal will be invested and the net income used to create scholarships. By making the gift endowed, the Ndamukong Suh Scholarship will exist in perpetuity.

"It says so much about Ndamukong Suh that one of his first acts as a graduate is one of giving back, and helping students who are in need of a scholarship to the University of Nebraska," said Clarence Castner, president of the University of Nebraska Foundation. "He is an inspiration and a role model. It may be that his biggest impact will occur off the field."

"The balance between athletics and academics is one-of-a-kind at Nebraska," Suh said. "That's the reason I came here, and that's the reason why I wanted to support the College of Engineering. I wanted to make sure that other out-of-state students would have the same opportunities that I did at Nebraska. This is a great school and will hold a special place in my heart forever."

Academics have always been important to Suh's family. His father, Michael, is an engineer and his mother, Bernadette, a teacher. Bernadette insisted her son maintain at least a 3.0 average before he could join his high school football team. One of the primary reasons Suh said he chose the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was its highly regarded engineering program, and the athletic department's strong focus on academics. The Nebraska Cornhuskers have more academic All-Americans than any other football team in the country and the best exhausted eligibility graduation rate in the Big 12 Conference at 94 percent.

Originally from Portland, Ore., Suh's mother, Bernadette, is from Jamaica, while his father, Michael, hails from Cameroon.

WRITER: Christine Anderson

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