Murphy USA’s charitable foundation has made the lead commitment of $750,000 toward the Southern Arkansas University Athletic Department’s planned Student-Athlete Academic Success and Athletic Operations Center.

The center will be constructed south of the Dawson Athletic Complex.

The 7,500-square feet facility, which will serve as the central hub for Mulerider Athletics' 16 athletic programs, is designed to address the academic, nutritional, personal, and professional development of more than 450 student-athletes.

Components will include multiple learning environments, including a large classroom also serving as a team meeting room, a computer lab, tutoring rooms, administration, academic advisor, and coaches' offices, a nutrition center, and locker rooms for men's and women's track and field/cross country programs.

"We are beyond grateful for Murphy USA," said SAU Director of Athletics Steve Browning. "They are in the business of transforming lives and this lead commitment is another testimony to that. The Student-Athlete Academic Success Center will provide our athletes with the resources necessary to not only be champions on the court/field, but also in the classroom."

On hand for the check presentation were Murphy USA's President and CEO Andrew Clyde, Executive Vice President of Fuels and CFO Mindy West, Vice President and Controller Donnie Smith, Vice President and General Counsel Greg Smith and Senior Manager Philanthropy, Community Relations, and Administrative Services Don Miller. SAU's President Dr. Trey Berry, Vice President for Advancement Josh Kee, Director of Athletics Steve Browning and Associate Director of Development Jackson McCurdy represented the University.

The university plans to recognize Murphy USA's generosity to the project through the naming of the Academic Center.

"Murphy USA's generosity is visible across all of south Arkansas, and continuously enriches our region," said Berry. "From the classroom to the career field, SAU students' lives are transformed by our partnership with Murphy USA. We are extremely grateful to this organization for their enduring commitment to academic excellence by providing the lead gift for the Student-Athlete Success Center."

"Murphy USA is proud to continue its partnership with Southern Arkansas University. In supporting the new Academic Success Center, we honor student-athletes who display values we strongly share: a winning spirit; commitment to excellence; strong work ethic; and personal character. We look forward to seeing them flourish on and off the field and the opportunity for them to join fellow Mulerider alums at Murphy USA,” said Clyde.

In recent years, Murphy USA -- through its charitable foundation -- has generously partnered on several facility enhancement projects at SAU that have helped enhance athletic facilities on campus into some of the best around the region.

The organization serves as the title sponsor of the department's scholar-athlete of the year awards and the Mulerider Football program is set for its 11th appearance all-time in the Murphy USA Classic on October 22 from El Dorado's Memorial Stadium.

With a growing network of more than 1,650 retail stores in 27 states, Murphy USA serves more than 2 million customers each day.

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