The Panther Club Celebrates Unprecedented Fundraising Success

The Panther Club recorded its highest fundraising and donor total in Pitt history during the 2021-22 fiscal year which ended June 30. Last year, 12,643 donors contributed more than $40.4 million. Both amounts are Pitt Athletics records and exceed previous highs of 1,418 donors and more than $20 million in total fundraising. A combination of unprecedented major gift commitments, increased annual donation participation, and the success of Pitt Athletics programs has resulted in these fundraising totals that will be felt for years to come.

“This past year has been momentous for Pitt Athletics in so many ways. Championship trophies have been lifted, degrees have been earned and dreams have come true for so many young men and women who proudly wear our blue and gold.” , said the sports director. Heather Lyke. “The historic generosity of our donors gives us another remarkable achievement to celebrate. Their support has been crucial to the successes of the past year and will be even more vital as we continue to aspire higher into our future. On behalf of our nearly 700 student-athletes, bands and spirit squad members, I want to thank our Pitt supporters for their extraordinary generosity.Working together, the best is truly yet to come for our Panthers.

Over the past year, philanthropic leaders from the Pitt community have made significant contributions that have contributed to the fundraising success of Pitt Athletics. Pitt Athletics has gained 33 new Script Society members through donors pledging pledges of $50,000 or more over the past year. Among those commitments, in September the football program received a $20 million pledge from 1997 alum Chris Bickell, the largest donation in Pitt Athletics history. In recognition of this historic gift, Pitt’s head football coaching position is named “Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach”. The donation will help fund important capital improvements that will benefit the entire Pitt Football student-athlete experience now and in the future.

The Petersen Events Center lobby also changed its name in March following a $5 million donation from the family of Tom and Mary Beth Richards. The donation to the men’s basketball program will help lead efforts to expand and renovate the practice, training and athletic performance facilities at the Petersen Events Center. In honor of their commitment, the lobby of the Petersen Events Center is now called the Thomas E. Richards Family Lobby.

The annual donor base has also grown significantly and contributed to the Panther Club’s fundraising success. Increased donations to the Student-Athlete Success Fund have enabled Pitt to provide more resources to all of our student-athletes through mental health services, enhanced strength and conditioning equipment, hiring a full-time director of sports science, academic services and resources and scholarships. Continued support from the Student-Athlete Success Fund will allow Pitt Athletics to continue to invest in these vital resources for our student-athletes and ensure all 850 student-athletes have a world-class experience while at the University of Pittsburgh.

“The power of the Pitt family was truly inspiring last year,” said Lee Robert, Executive Associate Athletic Director of Philanthropy and Engagement. “The record investment of our Panther Club members is transforming the experience for each of our student-athletes. We are so grateful for your support and look forward to seeing our members raise the bar again this year.”

Donations to the Panther Club help provide all of our 850 student-athletes with the resources they need to excel while at Pitt. Support for the Panther Club comes from donations to the Student-Athlete Success Fund, scholarships, philanthropic donations to our championship funds and capital projects. To learn more about joining the Panther Club or to donate today, visit