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University of Minnesota receives $25 million commitment from Land O'Lakes, Inc. and the Land O'Lakes Foundation

Commitment invests in U colleges, Gopher Athletics and their students

MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Land O'Lakes, Inc. announced today that it will invest $25 million in University of Minnesota academics and Gopher Athletics -- one of the largest single corporate commitments in University history and the largest commitment ever made collectively by Land O'Lakes, Inc. and the Land O'Lakes Foundation.

"Today's announcement underscores our commitment to educational excellence and further strengthens our investment in the pipeline of talent from the University of Minnesota," said Christopher Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, Inc. "Land O'Lakes has doubled in size over the past five years and is committed to continue to grow its food and agricultural businesses both domestically and internationally.  It is going to take high caliber talent to achieve our business goals.  We are pleased to be partnering with the University to help create a holistic student experience that equips graduates for a competitive marketplace, but also inspires the well-rounded talent necessary to meet the challenge of feeding a growing global population. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship and building a strategic partnership with this great institution."

The monetary commitment is largely philanthropic, but also includes an element of sponsorship. It is one of the first ever agreements between the University and a business partner to have a broad-ranging impact that will include support for student-athletes and academic programs, including student scholarships, academic and development excellence within Gopher Athletics, internship opportunities and faculty research, among other things. It will fund projects and initiatives throughout numerous University departments and colleges including Intercollegiate Athletics; the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; the Carlson School of Management; and the College of Science and Engineering.

"Meaningful partnerships with Minnesota businesses are vital to the success of our students and the state's economic future," said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. "The 40-plus-year partnership between the U and Land O'Lakes is one in which we take great pride. This new commitment and innovative model of support will advance our teaching, student support, athletic programs and research mission, and will further position the U as a continued leader in addressing society's pressing challenges."

As part of the commitment, Land O'Lakes will receive naming rights to a new center for excellence that will be located in the Athletics Village, the centerpiece of Gopher Athletics' new facilities plan. The 60,000 square-foot facility will house academic, nutritional and leadership development programs for all University students and student-athletes alike, and is anticipated to open in fall 2016.  Fifteen million dollars of the commitment will fund this facility.

The $25 million commitment will be provided to the U of M between 2015 through 2024.

WHEN: 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014
WHAT: Celebration and program highlighting the enhanced partnership between the U and Land O'Lakes
WHO: Christopher Policinski, president and CEO of Land O'Lakes, and Eric W. Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, students, faculty and staff
WHERE: Northrop Mall on the University's East Bank

About Land O'Lakes, Inc.
Land O'Lakes, Inc., one of America's premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from farm production to consumer foods. With 2013 annual sales of more than $14.2 billion, Land O'Lakes is one of the nation's largest cooperatives, ranking 199 on the Fortune 500.  Building on a legacy of more than 93 years of operation, Land O'Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O'Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.

About the Land O'Lakes Foundation
The Land O'Lakes Foundation was established in 1996 and is made possible by support from Land O'Lakes, Inc. In addition to distributing the John Brandt Memorial Foundation Scholarship, the Foundation awards community grants to projects that develop and strengthen organizations dedicated to hunger relief, education and the community.

About the University of Minnesota
Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota is ranked among the nation's top public research universities. As a land-grant institution, the U of M is committed to engaging Minnesota, national and global communities to advance interdisciplinary knowledge; enhance students' academic, civic, career, social and personal development; and apply intellectual and human capital to serve the public good.

SOURCE Land O'Lakes, Inc.

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