UofM Launches Campaign to Upgrade Natatorium with Gift from Rose Family Foundation

Renovated natatorium will serve community by expanding swimming instruction, recreation and training space

January 19, 2018 - The Rose Family Foundation has made a $1 million commitment to the University of Memphis Natatorium Renovation Project. The Foundation is partnering with the UofM to secure $10 million to renovate the natatorium, which is used by Memphis Tiger Swimming, Splash Mid-South and the UofM community.

Drowning is a leading cause of death among children ages 1-4. African-American children ages 5-19 drown in pools at a rate 5.5 times higher than that of white children. Since the closing of the YMCA on Walker Avenue in 2011, there have been few options available in the University area for swim lessons and drowning prevention training. In addition, Memphis does not have a swimming facility that can accommodate swimming and diving competitions.

"Prior to his passing, I spoke with Mike Rose about his desire to have a natatorium that truly meets the needs of our community," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "I am committed to achieving this goal, and am excited that The Rose Family Foundation has made it their mission to work with key organizations in Memphis to make Mike's vision a reality."

The pool will be named for the late Rose, a successful businessman and philanthropist.

"The renovated natatorium will prove a wonderful complement to the new Center for Wellness and Fitness, which will offer recreational swimming among other health and fitness that are integrated into the University's core academic mission," added Rudd.

"Created to enrich the community through increased opportunity in education, health and the pursuits of happiness, The Rose Foundation is eager to see the natatorium serve as a center for children's water safety and enrich the lives of underserved youth in our community," said Gabrielle Rose, executive director. "Mike Rose was also a longtime supporter of UofM athletics and Memphis Tiger Swimming because of his belief in sports' ability to shape character and develop leaders. The Rose Foundation is proud to stand behind this project and work on behalf of making my father’s last philanthropic wish for Memphis a reality."

Among the project's goals are: providing free or low-cost swim lessons to 300 underprivileged children, led by Splash Mid-South; introducing swimming to low-income and minority youth to improve the diversity of Memphis Tiger Swimming; offering free CPR classes to UofM students so they can share their skills with the community; generating revenue for the local economy from visitors who attend swimming competitions; and enhancing community relationships through research on drowning prevention.

Planned renovations include increasing the pool length, improved mechanical and water handling systems, handicap access, upgraded locker rooms and expanded seating. The increased seating will make the facility appropriate for training and for regional swimming competitions. Renovations are expected to take about 18 months to complete.


Chuck Gallina | 901.678.1756 l cgallina@memphis.edu