Nesbitt pledges second major donation to Ubben renovation project
CHAMPAGNE, Ill. – The University of Illinois Intercollegiate Athletics Division announced a second major donation to the Ubben Basketball Complex Renovation and Expansion Project by Gies College of Business alumnus Steve Nesbitt. 1976, and his wife, Michele. In 2021, the Nesbitts made their first donation to the facility project and now, just six months later, they are adding to that donation in an effort to build momentum towards the project’s completion.
“When you see how close we are to finishing fundraising for this much-needed facility upgrade, Michele and I just wanted to push ourselves into the home stretch,” Nesbitt said. “We hope this additional commitment will encourage other donors to make a second donation or choose to join in supporting the project. We believe in what we are building and know that state-of-the-art facilities will continue to attract and to develop the best student-athletes for our programs.
Nesbitt, a native of Moline, Illinois, earned her accounting degree from Gies College of Business. He and Michele now reside in Tampa, Florida and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Steve is a successful commercial real estate entrepreneur who got his start as a Wendy’s and Chili’s restaurant franchisee with over 140 locations. Michele is a successful entrepreneur and owner of Just Bare Skin Clinics in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, Penn.
“The Nesbitts, and people like them, are essential to such an ambitious project as the one we have undertaken with the renovation of Ubben,” said the sports director. Josh Whitman noted. “They wholeheartedly believe in our vision for Illinois Basketball and realize how important modern, quality facilities are to the coaches, student-athletes and staff who will use these spaces. We are honored whenever someone comes forward to support our projects, but for Steve and Michele to give two such meaningful gifts in such a short time is extremely generous. They are committed to seeing us participate in elite championship programs, and we are extremely grateful to their support.
Ubben’s renovation and expansion will add approximately 40,000 square feet to the existing structure, while remodeling large portions of the existing building. New office space for coaches and a large entrance hall are included in the project. Two new half-courts will be added to the current women’s and men’s gym spaces, giving both programs additional space to work on skill development without disrupting full-court action. The project will include a new strength and conditioning addition, significantly increase the size of locker rooms and player lounges, and include a state-of-the-art sports medicine area.
“As construction continues every day and Ubben transforms before our eyes, it is exciting to know that we are only months away from having the best facility in the country for our players,” said the men’s basketball head coach. Brad Underwood noted. “This does not happen without the generosity of donors like the Nesbitts. They have shown extraordinary commitment to Illinois, making multiple donations to help make this project possible. Having committed alumni and offering support performing at our program is part of what makes Illinois such a special place.”
To date, Illinois has secured commitments of $31.3 million for the renovation and expansion of the Ubben basketball complex as part of the $40 million project.
The donation is part of the DIA’s $300 million fundraising goal for “With Illinois,” the university’s $2.25 billion fundraising campaign.
Transform Illinois basketball by donating to the expansion and renovation of the Ubben Basketball Complex. Forever tie your name to Illinois Basketball’s championship culture! Illini fans donating $500 or more will be recognized on a donor wall within Ubben’s basketball complex.