Tulane alumni donate $1 million to men’s basketball program

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Avron and Wendy Fogelman

As Tulane men’s basketball team looked to get back on track in search of its first league win of the season, it gained a major win from some former students.

Tulane almuni Avron B. Fogelman (Class of 1962) and Wendy Mimeles Fogelman (Class of 1963) have given $1 million to support Tulane University men’s basketball, the university announced.

The gift, which reflects the Fogelmans’ commitment to student-athlete success on and off the court, establishes the Fogelman Life Preparation Program, which will teach life skills, financial training, career coaching and student success to men’s basketball players, and also supports an altitude chamber for the team.

“I want to do all I can to see the Tulane basketball players enjoy a productive and successful life after playing basketball at Tulane. We owe them no less,” said Avron Fogelman, whose name is synonymous with Tulane men’s basketball. He previously donated to the university to establish the Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse.

The Fogelman gift will address the unique situation of men’s basketball players. For example, the Fogelman program will help players get internships, a goal that is made difficult during the team’s high-intensity athletic schedule.

Ben Weiner Director of Athletics Troy Dannen said, “Avron’s providing us the winning edge. What we’re doing is going to be very unique.”

He noted that the Fogelman Life Preparation Program is appealing to both players and their families — providing Tulane with an added recruiting incentive.

Men’s basketball coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. praised how the gift will impact men’s basketball, saying: “We intend to use the gift to help our program win with improvements to our facilities, operations and the development of our student-athletes.”

The altitude chamber will be an enclosed chamber located within the Hertz Center weight room with cardio equipment for the athletes to train in an altitude fit to the team’s settings and goals and will have adjustable humidity options. “The chamber will give players a physical training advantage,” Dannen said.

Avron and Wendy met while they were students at Tulane. After Avron completed his arts and sciences and Wendy graduated from Newcomb College, they married and settled in Memphis, where they raised three sons, Rick, Mark (Class of 1992) and Hal. Their grandson Matthew is a current undergraduate in the A. B. Freeman School Class of 2022.

Avron Fogelman is the former owner of the Kansas City Royals, which won the World Series under his ownership. He founded a successful real estate development company, Fogelman Properties.

“Wendy and Avron Fogelman have steadfastly served their alma mater where they first met. They have a resolute passion to ensure the best for Tulane’s student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and throughout their career and lives,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said.

The Fogelman name is well known for philanthropy and civic involvement. Avron Fogelman chaired the NAACP Freedom Award Gala, and has received Humanitarian Awards from numerous organizations, as well as being the Memphis Philanthropist of the Year, Master of Free Enterprise, and president of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, as well as chairman of the Memphis Planning Commission.

“Tulane has meant so much to me,” Fogelman said. “I am very appreciative for the educational and social opportunities afforded to me while a student at Tulane. Over the years, I have felt it very appropriate for me to thank Tulane for what it did for me and return to the school a small measure of what I received.”

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