Ruef Natatorium will undergo a dramatic transformation thanks to a multi-million-dollar gift from Mike Weinstein ’70 and his wife, Jill Weinstein.
The Weinsteins’ contribution, which was announced at the Homecoming football game on Oct. 17, is the lead gift for an extensive renovation that will include the addition of dramatic exterior windows and significant upgrades to spectator seating and pool lighting. Plans for the project, which totals $5.6 million, also call for new 1-meter and 3-meter diving towers, a new scoreboard, new mechanical systems, a new pool tank finish, and an upgraded race timing system.
The facility will be renamed Weinstein Natatorium. Constructed in 1973, it is home to Lafayette’s NCAA Division I swimming and diving teams and benefits the College as a venue for intramural and club sports and recreational use.
“I learned so many lessons, especially from Coach Bill Lawson. He’s one of the inspirations in my life,” he says. “I hope this gift will give current and future student-athletes a facility that mirrors the quality of education and experience that Lafayette student-athletes deserve.”
The Weinsteins’ contribution supports the College’s $400 million Live Connected, Lead Change campaign. The goal of the campaign is to strengthen Lafayette’s standing, in the words of Lafayette President Alison Byerly, “among the nation’s leading colleges, known for providing a dynamic, integrated liberal arts and engineering education that connects classroom learning with real-world experience, and prepares students to become global leaders.” Support for athletics contributes to the campaign goal of creating a more connected campus community.
“Snapple was all about leadership and perseverance. That describes my academic and sports experience here at Lafayette.”
“We are immensely grateful to Mike and Jill Weinstein for their leadership support of the natatorium project and for all of their generous and meaningful support of Lafayette over many years,” Byerly says. In 2011, the Weinsteins were inducted into the Société d’Honneur, which recognizes exceptional lifetime generosity on the part of alumni, parents, and friends. Their previous support includes a million-dollar scholarship fund to benefit members of the varsity swimming and diving teams.
An economics major and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mike Weinstein graduated with honors from Lafayette and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1972. He is chairman of INOV8 Beverage Consulting Group, which provides advisory services to multiple U.S. and international beverage companies.
Weinstein is best known for leading the remarkable turnaround of the Snapple brand. He became CEO of Snapple in 1997 when Triarc Companies purchased it from Quaker Oats for $300 million, brought a new vision to the organization, and, within three years, orchestrated its sale to Cadbury Schweppes for $1.45 billion. He was recognized as the Beverage Industry Executive of the Year in 1999, was elected to the Beverage World Hall of Fame in 2000, and received the Visionary Award from Beverage Digest in 2004. In recognition of his professional achievements, Lafayette presented him its George Washington Kidd, Class of 1836, Award in 2007.
The renovation is scheduled to begin in March 2016 and to be completed in September 2016. The engineering consulting firm of Clough, Harbour and Associates designed the project and is serving as project manager.
Ruef Natatorium is named for John Ruef, Class of 1901, and his brother, Harry Ruef, Class of 1905, in recognition of a bequest from John Ruef that the College received in 1971. The College plans to honor the Ruefs’ legacy with a plaque in the renovated natatorium.