The University of Wyoming cut the ribbon today on the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The center serves as a welcoming center for the University of Wyoming.

The ribbon cutting took place in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Speakers included Governor Matt Mead, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, Ben Blalock, UW Foundation Board Chair Scott Neu, Brimmer Kunz, and Mick McMurry.

“The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center provides a gracious entrance to the University of Wyoming. It is a tribute to the university and to Wyoming. It reflects our Western heritage and our commitment to progress,” Governor Mead says. “I thank the generous donors who made this center possible, as well as the architects and design and construction firms for creating another landmark building for Wyoming.”

The Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center is a multi-use “front door” for connection, collaboration, and public and social events.

“The University of Wyoming is a dynamic institution with a distinguished history and a bright future, and we now have a ‘front door’ that reflects that,” says UW President Dick McGinity. “I join the entire university community in thanking the philanthropists who made this vision a reality and gave UW a place to welcome all who love the state’s university.”

The facility is funded entirely by private support, making this the largest fundraising facility project in UW history. The total cost of the facility is $35 million.

“On behalf of the entire UW Foundation Board of Directors, let me say ‘thank you’ to an extraordinary group of philanthropists for their generous support and commitment to the one-of-a-kind Rochelle Gateway Center,” says Neu. “Without their vision, this project would not have been possible. It’s not only an architecturally striking physical gateway to campus -- it’s also a symbolic gateway representing the University of Wyoming’s remarkable future.”

The center’s namesake, philanthropist Marian H. Rochelle, gave more than $12 million in support of the facility. Mick and Susie McMurry gave $6 million through the McMurry Foundation to support the Grand Atrium and the Legacy Hall. Greg and Loren Hill gave $1.25 million to create the north plaza, Roy and Fay Whitney gave $1 million to create the south plaza, and Carol and Ramon Tomé gave $1 million for the Student Admissions Center. The list goes on. The center has inspired many more wonderful gifts from UW’s dedicated supporters.

The facility is home to the UW Alumni Association, Admissions, Career Services and the UW Foundation, and contains office and collaborative space for these units as they support and promote the university.

Surrounded by a dramatic three-story wall of windows, the McMurry Family Grand Atrium proudly welcomes visitors, functioning as the central hub. With its wide-open welcoming aesthetics and prominent university displays and exhibits, it serves as a gathering place and event space for students, alumni, prospective employers, industry leaders and all of UW’s other constituencies.

The McMurry Family UW Legacy Hall will be the most visited space in the new building, creating an interactive experience that honors the impact of UW on Wyoming, the renowned alumni and friends who have supported Wyoming’s university, and the noteworthy traditions of the institution. It tells the story of UW with a museum-quality space and dynamic and flexible visuals, including video and digital displays.

The north and south entrances each will feature iconic statues. The south statue by Chris Navarro, titled “Wyoming Cowboy,” is a bronze representation of Steamboat, Wyoming’s iconic bucking horse, and a rider rising almost 20 feet on its base. This sculpture was made possible by a $500,000 donation from Bruce and Kathy Bummer. The north statue by D. Michael Thomas, titled “Breakin’ Through,” features a horse and rider breaking through a wall of Wyoming sandstone, and the rider will be a woman. This work of art was made possible by a $500,000 donation from April Brimmer Kunz and Marian H. Rochelle. The latter statue will be installed in 2015.