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Booth family’s gift helps vision of Hughes Fieldhouse become reality

Mel ’67 & Valorie Booth Family

When Northwest Missouri State University began formulating plans to build a facility designed to enhance student engagement and wellness, raise its competitive advantage in collegiate athletics and enrich partnerships with the Maryville community, Melvin and Valorie Booth were among the first to join the team.

“One of the reasons we stepped up early on with a significant gift was to put a meaningful number to it and let people know we’re serious about it, and we really believe in the future,” Mel Booth said. “I think people understand what’s involved and what can be created.”

The Booth family’s seven-figure gift in support of the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse helped propel the Northwest Foundation and the University to break ground June 15 on the 137,250 square-foot, $20 million facility, which is designed to serve a multitude of social, recreational and economic needs for the University and region.

While the project represents the single largest public-private partnership in Northwest’s 112‐year history and one of the largest such projects in the region ever, donors have so far committed $13 million to it through donations and pledges secured by the Northwest Foundation. Multiple other sources, including the University and students, are contributing to the project while a remaining $600,000 gap must be raised to complete the facility prior to its summer 2018 dedication.

The Booths are among the leading supporters of the project, joining the Carl and Cheryl Hughes family, the city of Maryville and Nodaway Valley Bank as “team captains” of the Founding 50, a group representing donors giving $50,000 and greater.

Although construction is just beginning, the Booths already are reflecting on the project with pride. They are grateful for the Founding 50 – now 65 strong – and all who have contributed to helping the facility become a reality.

“This, to me, is a game changer,” Mel Booth said. “Northwest has always been at the forefront of delivering a top-notch education and student engagement experience. The Hughes Fieldhouse represents the next step in this evolution to keep Northwest on the cutting edge, both from a student standpoint as well as a community standpoint.”

Since graduating from Northwest in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Mel Booth has led multibillion dollar companies worldwide in the pharmaceutical and life sciences fields. Booth has served as chairman of the board of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceutical since 2013. He also has served as director of Catalent Pharma Solutions since 2010 and chairman of the board and a director of eResearchTechnology Inc. from 2012 to 2016. He has been a strategic advisor in life sciences to Genstar Capital, a private equity firm, since 2005.

He and his wife, Valorie, also have remained active in educational and philanthropic causes. They established the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth Bethany Business Scholarship at Northwest in 2001 after making a major gift to the University to establish the Booth School of Business, which was subsequently named in their honor.

“The Booth family continues leading Northwest Missouri State University with their philanthropy and volunteerism, challenging everyone as campaign leaders and as Northwest supporters to make a difference,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “We are grateful for all they have and will continue to contribute to Northwest that will help assist our students, faculty, staff and community.”

The Booths emphasize their continued commitment to Northwest and the Hughes Fieldhouse is part of a team effort. Supporters of the University and the community have found ways to contribute to the campaign, and the Booths actively encourage others to be a part of it – at any level of giving.

“This effort directly supports the University’s mission of focusing on student success – every student, every day,” Booth said. “Our family has been proud to be part of the leadership and helping drive this to the point that it is, in addition to Carl and Cheryl, and the team has really achieved success. It takes a team to do it.”