The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has received a $75 million donation that will help pay for a multiuse, on-campus arena for its hockey and basketball programs.
The arena will be named the Lee and Penny Anderson Arena, in honor of the couple that has donated what the university says is the largest monetary gift ever given to a Minnesota university.
The university has begun fundraising to raise $131 million for the venue. Project costs are estimated to be $175 million. St. Thomas aims to break ground in 2024, with a target opening of fall 2025.
Aside from hockey and basketball games and special events, the arena is being envisioned as a home for St. Thomas commencement ceremonies, academic convocations, speakers, career fairs and other events for the university and broader community.
The Andersons' philanthropic efforts have played a major role at St. Thomas. In total, the Andersons have donated nearly $140 million. The $75 million gift surpasses a previous $60 million donation made by the Andersons in 2007 for the construction of the Anderson Student Center, Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex and Anderson Parking Facility.
The men’s and women’s hockey teams now play at the St. Thomas Ice Arena (operated by Saint Thomas Academy) in Mendota Heights. Schoenecker Arena is the current home for St. Thomas basketball.
Since officially transitioning from college to university in 1990, St. Thomas has opened new campuses in downtown Minneapolis and Rome, Italy, as well as several new facilities.
St. Thomas also has broken ground on what will be its largest academic building – the Schoenecker Center for science, technology, engineering, arts and math education. The Lee and Penny Anderson Arena will be just across the way from the Schoenecker Center, which is scheduled to open in 2024.