Former Hurricane Calais Campbell, NFL Pro Bowler with the Arizona Cardinals and founder of the CRC Foundation, made a gift of $1.6 million to the University of Miami's athletic department Wednesday to fund The Calais Campbell Football Defensive Lineman Endowed Scholarship.
The endowment marks the largest gift from a former UM student athlete ever, a little more than the recent $1.5 million gift from former running back Ken Hunt the school announced.
“Calais’ generosity will create opportunities for young men for years to come and on behalf of the University, I want to express our gratitude for his commitment to Miami,” UM athletic director Blake James said in a statement released by the school. “Calais is an incredible man and along with his family, understands the importance of education and the impact a positive environment can have on a student-athlete. We are excited by the benchmarks set by Ken Hunt and now Calais, which will serve as catalysts for former student-athlete giving in the future.”
The Calais Campbell Football Defensive Lineman Endowment will fund a full scholarship annually, in perpetuity, to a defensive lineman on the Hurricanes football team. In recognition for this historic gift, the defensive linemen meeting room in the Hecht Athletic Center will be renamed The Calais Campbell Defensive Line Meeting Room.
An all-ACC defensive end, Campbell recorded the ninth best single-season sack total in Hurricanes history with 10.5, on his way to being named the Hurricanes’ 2006 team MVP. Campbell was a four-year letter winner, and graduated in 2008 with a degree in advertising and marketing.
“While running through the smoke as a Miami Hurricane will always be one of the great honors of my life, I am equally as proud of the education I received while a Hurricane student-athlete” Calais Campbell said in a statement released by UM. “Through my parents, I learned the value of earning a degree and through the University of Miami I was able to achieve it. The University of Miami continues to strive for the best in both academics and athletics, and it’s my honor to be a small part of that effort.”
Campbell was himself the named recipient of an endowed scholarship from Robert and Connie McGee, longtime supporters of UM athletics.
“The McGees were very inspirational in my life and I’m honored to now stand beside them as a fellow donor to Hurricane Athletics,” Campbell said. “I hope that through this gift I can inspire others to think about how they can continue to positively impact the lives of Hurricane student-athletes, just as the McGee family has done for many years.”
Campbell and the McGees formed a strong bond during his time at UM, and they remain close today.
“Our family has enjoyed attending University of Miami football games for many years. When we lost our son, Shane, at age 13, we created an endowed football scholarship in his memory,” Bob and Connie McGee said in a statement released by UM. “Our first recipient was Calais Campbell. It was a wonderful experience to meet Calais as an incoming freshman and to watch him grow as a player and a man.
"Our relationship with Calais has helped us both understand the impact that a scholarship can have on a young person’s life. Calais is an exceptional young man. We are so pleased that he has decided to carry on the tradition of investing in the young men who will play football at University of Miami by giving an endowed football scholarship. We feel that our family’s scholarship has come full circle,” they added.
In 2008, Campbell was selected 50th overall in the second round of the NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals, and has continued to excel in the NFL, becoming a Cardinals team leader and being named to his first Pro Bowl. Campbell has twice won the Cardinals “Man of the Year” award for his work in the Arizona community through his CRC Foundation.
With Campbell's gift, the school announced it has surpassed $106 million toward its fundraising campaign known as Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.