CHARLOTTESVILLE-Amy Griffin, a 1998 University of Virginia graduate and former volleyball player for the Cavaliers, has pledged $5 million for the construction of a new track and field facility at UVa. The Virginia Athletics Department announced the gift on Monday (March 28).

The commitment by Griffin allows the athletics department to move forward with the design and construction of a new track and field facility. The Virginia Athletics Foundation (VAF), the fund raising organization for the athletics department, has launched a campaign to raise the remaining amount needed to finance the approximately $14 million project.

Griffin’s gift is the largest commitment ever made for an Olympic sport capital project at the University of Virginia. She is a current member of the VAF Board of Trustees and previously donated $1 million in 2006 to support the volleyball program and also funded UVa’s new sand volleyball courts.

“The University deserves a top notch track and field facility. I feel we owe it to current and future student-athletes,” Griffin said. “I look at it as an important athletic department facility, but more importantly an upgrade for the entire University. I really do hope there are many people in the University of Virginia community, especially former athletes – track and non-track – who see this as a key piece in future athletic success and one that they want to support.

“The new space will allow the track team to compete for championships and will help with recruiting and training for a large number of athletic teams at the University. It is my hope that this project will raise the game for Virginia Athletics in so many ways.”

A conceptual design study for the facility has been completed. In addition to replacing the existing track, plans for the new facility include seating for 1,500 fans, lights, a scoreboard and team locker rooms. The facility’s plans create a new entrance plaza for the track and field facility, Davenport Field and Klöckner Stadium, and also include column features similar to those at Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena.

“Amy’s gift for a new track and field facility is evidence of her passion for our University and athletics department,” said Jason Vigilante, director of track and field/cross country at Virginia. “Words cannot express my gratitude for Amy’s support. Her commitment is an inspiring source of pride for everyone involved with the track and field program. Given that we have over 80 student-athletes in our program who compete in a number of different types of events, we have to practice and train from the early afternoon into the evening hours. This new facility will allow us to maximize our training time and have a tremendous impact on our student-athletes for years to come.”

With Griffin’s gift, the VAF has now raised almost $6.4 million for the facility. In addition, the athletics department has $380,000 from athletics department reserves previously allocated to the project.

The facility will be constructed in two phases. The track needs to be in place for the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Track and Field Championships along with the infrastructure necessary to complete the entire project. In order for this to occur, an additional $725,000 needs to be raised to reach the $7.5 million total needed by June of 2011 so construction on the first phase can begin.

The overall fund raising progress will dictate the timeline for final completion, requiring a total of $14 million raised before the second phase of construction can begin.

“This is truly a remarkable gift from Amy, who understands the vision and goals we have for the athletics department,” said Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage. “She saw this as an opportunity to provide a boost to a program that will allow it to compete at a higher level. We need to use the momentum from Amy’s gift to continue the fund raising campaign so we can complete this project.

“We are committed to an overall program of excellence at Virginia. We are grateful for Amy’s vision and it is her dedication to the program that will enhance the experience for hundreds of student-athletes at UVa.”

About Amy Griffin:

As a 1998 graduate from the University of Virginia, Amy Griffin continues to be a dedicated supporter of the University with her involvement in the Virginia Athletics Foundation, the University of Virginia College Foundation and The Mead Endowment.

After graduating from the University of Virginia, Amy moved to New York City where she worked as Marketing Manager and Olympic Manager for Sports Illustrated Magazine.

Amy serves as a trustee of The Boys’ Club of New York and is Vice President of its Women’s Board. She is actively involved in the education reform movement, serving as a board member of KIPP Academy and KIPP NY, Inc. She is also involved with iMentor, which uses technology to create a new, powerful mentoring model.

Amy currently lives in New York City with her husband, John A. Griffin and their children. Together, Amy and John serve as trustees of the Blue Ridge Foundation and the John and Amy Griffin Foundation.