Bearcats alum Travis Kelce pledges ‘transformational’ gift to university

The grant is part of a $100 million fundraising campaign targeting improvements including an indoor practice facility.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) looks on from the sideline in the fourth...
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) looks on from the sideline in the fourth quarter during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022 in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Lachlan Cunningham)(Lachlan Cunningham | AP)
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:09 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - One of the NFL’s biggest stars is lending a helping hand to student-athletes at the University of Cincinnati.

Kansas City Chiefs Tight End and former UC Bearcat Travis Kelce on Wednesday announced a Health and Wellness Endowment with the UC Athletics Department.

The grant is funded by a substantial contribution from Kelce’s Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation.

It will fund a Sports Psychology and Counseling Department, helping all 450 student-athletes at Kelce’s alma mater, according to a UC spokesperson.

The grant ensures permanent access to the care and services needed to be mentally and physically strong, confident and resilient, the spokesperson says.

RELATED | Date set for UC to enter Big12 Conference

The grant anticipates UC’s move to the Big 12 Conference next year.

It’s part of the $100 million Day One Ready Campaign targeting improvements including an indoor practice facility that is currently in the design phase.

The indoor facility will feature a 120-yard field, nutrition station, weight room and sports medicine rooms, among other amenities, per the university. It will be the permanent, all-weather home for the football team and all outdoor sports.

Nippert Stadium will receive some upgrades as part of the campaign, including additional ribbon boards, a new sound system and an improved wireless network.

MORE | UC unveils new state-of-the-art football locker room

Kelce, who played for the Bearcats 2009-12, made the grant to help others develop the sort of “solid infrastructure of people” he says helped him navigate through life as a student-athlete.

“The transition from high school to college was a difficult one; it was an emotional rollercoaster at times dealing with my academic responsibilities and holding my own on the field,” Kelce said. “There was little to no room for error in the classroom and on the field. Being able to have that support system in place is part of the reason why I decided to start this endowment and give back to my alma mater and its athletic department. I’m at a place in my career where I’m able to share my experiences and lend resources to provide the university’s student-athletes with the assistance they need to become the best versions of themselves they can be.”

UC Athletics Director John Cunningham thanked Kelce for the “transformational” endowment.

“This is a really special gift from Travis because it comes from a former student-athlete for current and future student-athletes, but also because it will impact student-athletes for years to come,” Cunningham said. “Travis is a tremendous ambassador for the University of Cincinnati and we are grateful for his continued support for our athletes and our athletic department. Mental health is a crucial component of college athletics. Travis’ gift will ensure that Cincinnati remains on the forefront of support for all UC athletes.”

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