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DePaul University announces campaigns to enhance campus athletics facilities, academics

Projects include state-of-the-art basketball practice facility and new interdisciplinary institutes

CHICAGO — Transforming DePaul University’s athletics facilities and shaping academic initiatives are the goals of a philanthropic expansion announced Aug. 31 by university president Robert L. Manuel.

DePaul will create three interdisciplinary institutes related to poverty, environmental sustainability and artificial intelligence. The athletics project includes the construction of a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility and a modernization of the Sullivan Athletic Center and McGrath-Phillips Arena, both of which will position the university for success in the BIG EAST Conference and nationally.

“Together, we are reimagining the power of DePaul for the modern moment,” Manuel said. “Through research and teaching, our faculty are preparing students to solve the most pressing issues facing society today. At the same time, we are raising support for our student-athletes in a way that will elevate all of DePaul.”

In alignment with Manuel’s work to design DePaul’s future​ as the national leader in higher education, the academic and athletics projects will be supported by the first wave of philanthropic expansion. Manuel is collaborating with DePaul faculty to shape the development of the interdisciplinary research institutes, which will launch this academic year.

“As we design DePaul’s future, our philanthropic expansion must be grounded in an unwavering dedication to both our academic and athletic enterprise. These projects are the first step in realizing that vision. New facilities will provide our student-athletes with the best opportunity possible to succeed in their respective sports and in the classroom. Successful athletic accomplishments will raise DePaul’s profile and reputation, and elevating our academic enterprise will expand elite educational opportunities for all students,” Manuel added.

Athletics projects kick-start campaigns
Renovation of the Sullivan Athletic Center and McGrath-Phillips Arena is set to begin this winter, with the first phase being completed in late summer 2024. Construction of the new basketball practice facility, which will be built in the heart of the university’s Lincoln Park Campus, is expected to begin no earlier than summer 2025 and be completed by fall 2026. These projects were approved unanimously by DePaul’s Board of Trustees after 18 months of board, shared governance, community and campus leadership conversations.

“Athletics holds tremendous value for DePaul, serving as a vehicle for national exposure, fostering connectivity with alumni, engaging with the Chicago community, and enhancing school spirit among our university community,” said DeWayne Peevy, DePaul’s vice president and director of athletics. “An investment in athletics will allow us to achieve even more on a national stage, which has the capacity to elevate the university’s brand and reputation, and drive future enrollment.”

“Our facilities are the front porch of our program. They set the tone for our student-athletes, signaling our seriousness and our commitment to them. The environment we create around our 15 sports programs is the foundation of our championship mindset for our athletes, coaches and fans. I’m proud of these projects as they will have an extraordinary impact on every single DePaul student-athlete and each of our 15 sports programs,” Peevy added.

The new facility will feature an exterior, brick façade that mirrors the aesthetic of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, and a pitched roof that pays homage to DePaul’s former Lincoln Park arena, Alumni Hall, where the Blue Demon men’s basketball team won nearly 300 games from 1956-1980. Floor-to-ceiling glass around the basketball gyms will offer views of the city of Chicago.

The estimated total of approximately $60 million for both capital projects will be funded primarily through donor gifts.

HNTB, a leading college athletics architecture and engineering firm, partnered locally with DePaul campus master planner Antunovich Associates, to lead the feasibility study and will oversee both projects. The projects will also further the university’s commitment to Chicago by creating economic opportunities. The targeted goal for subcontracted spending with both minority-owned and woman-owned businesses for the project is 32%. The new practice facility will exceed the City of Chicago’s energy code and storm water ordinances and will focus on initiatives that reduce indoor water use, waste diversion and bird protection. More information on the athletics projects is online at

Interdisciplinary institutes to drive innovation
Interdisciplinary education is at the center of DePaul’s future in teaching, learning and research. With input from the DePaul community, the university will move forward with creating three interdisciplinary institutes focused on poverty, environmental sustainability and artificial intelligence.

“The institutes will accelerate collaboration among our faculty and deepen our connections with Chicago,” Manuel said. “DePaul researchers will create a hub where community leaders can access data-driven solutions to stubborn problems. In turn, the institutes will help generate robust academic programs that prepare DePaul students to serve in a changing world.”

Now that the university community has chosen focus areas, faculty from each of DePaul’s 10 colleges and schools will be invited to contribute to the institutes. All three will use a data visualization theater where researchers, business leaders, civil servants and community members can collaborate to make progress on pressing issues.

About DePaul University
DePaul University provides exceptional academics and real-world experiences to prepare students for a changing world. With nearly 21,000 students across more than 300 academic programs, DePaul has two campus locations in Chicago. Students richly benefit from the city’s many opportunities. In turn, DePaul is one of the forces that shapes Chicago’s future. The university was founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul. DePaul is among the nation’s top universities for diversity because of its long tradition of providing a high-quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds. DePaul is one of the largest private, nonprofit universities in the Midwest and one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation. Visit to learn more.

About DePaul Athletics
DePaul University’s 15 intercollegiate athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division I, BIG EAST Conference. DePaul began sponsoring athletics teams in the early 1900s, with intercollegiate athletics coming to fruition in the 1920s. Legendary head coach Ray Meyer helped put DePaul on the map in the 1970s as the men’s basketball program helped elevate the university to national prominence. Through a bold new vision for the future, DePaul Athletics looks to become the premier program in the BIG EAST Conference through a focus on winning championships with integrity, building champion students through education and intentional development, and serving as a visible ambassador for DePaul University and the Chicago community. DePaul Athletics has a storied tradition and is uniquely positioned to support the university's mission and commitment to academic excellence, real-world experience, community engagement and systemic change. Further, the department is steadfast in its commitment to grow the university’s national exposure and enrollment through athletics. Visit to learn more.


​Media Contacts:
Courtney Day
Athletics Communications

Russell Dorn
University Communications