CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS — The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced a second large contribution from 1976 Gies College of Business alumnus Steve Nesbitt and his wife, Michele, for the Ubben Basketball Complex rehabilitation and expansion project. The Nesbitts made their initial contribution to the facility project in 2021, and now, only six months later, they are increasing their contribution in an effort to generate momentum toward the project’s completion.
“When you consider how close we are to finishing fundraising for this much-needed facility enhancement, Michele and I really wanted to push us down the homestretch,” Nesbitt said. “We hope that this extra commitment will entice other contributors to make a second gift or to join us in supporting the initiative. We believe in what we’re doing and are confident that cutting-edge facilities will continue to attract and develop the best student-athletes for our programs.”
Nesbitt, a native of Moline, Ill., graduated from the Gies College of Business with a degree in accounting. He and Michele now live in Tampa, Florida, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Steve is a successful commercial real estate investor who began his career as a Wendy’s and Chili’s restaurant franchisee with over 140 locations. Michele is the proprietor of Just Bare Skin Clinics in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
“The Nesbitts, and others like them, are critical to a project as big as the Ubben redevelopment,” Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said. “They totally support our vision for Illinois Basketball and understand the value of high-quality, contemporary facilities to the coaches, student-athletes, and staff who will use them. We are humbled every time someone comes forward to support our programs, but for Steve and Michele to make two such significant contributions in such a short period of time is extremely wonderful. They are dedicated to seeing us field excellent, championship programs, and we are really appreciative for their assistance.”
The rehabilitation and expansion of the Ubben will add roughly 40,000 square feet to the current structure while modernizing substantial areas of the existing structure. The project includes new coaches’ offices and a magnificent entry lobby. Two new half courts will be built to both the women’s and men’s gyms, allowing both programs more area to focus on skill development while not interfering with full-court play. The project will include a new strength and conditioning addition, as well as a major increase in the size of the locker rooms and players lounges, as well as a cutting-edge sports medical facility.
“As building proceeds each day and Ubben transforms right before our eyes, it’s wonderful to know that we are just a few months away from having the greatest facility in the country for our players,” said Men’s Basketball Head Coach Brad Underwood. “This would not be possible without the generosity of philanthropists such as the Nesbitts. They have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to Illinois by making several donations to assist in the completion of this project. It is part of what makes Illinois such a wonderful location to have active alumni who support our program at a high level.”
To date, Illinois has received $31.3 million in commitments for the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation and expansion, bringing the total project cost to $40 million.
The donation is part of the DIA’s $300 million fundraising target for “With Illinois,” the University’s $2.25 billion fundraising drive.
Make a contribution to the Ubben Basketball Complex Expansion and Renovation to help transform Illinois basketball. Attach your name to the championship culture of Illinois Basketball for the rest of your life! Illini supporters who give $500 or more will be honored on a donor wall at the Ubben Basketball Complex.