$10 Million Gift from Kimbell/Almanza Families to Honor 4 Generations of Jayhawks
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For more than six decades, Charlie and Sharon Kimbell supported the University of Kansas and KU Athletics. Their generous investments in Kansas Athletics included support for football, basketball, scholarships, unrestricted support and a wide range of student support before their passing (Charlie in 2016, Sharon in 2022). Today, KU Athletics Director Travis Goff proudly announced that Charlie and Sharon’s example carries on through their children.
Mike Kimbell and his wife Michelle, and Kay (Kimbell) Almanza and her husband Dan, have committed $10 million in support of the Gateway District project and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. This substantial contribution honors the legacy of Charlie and Sharon Kimbell, while also representing the next generation of loyal Jayhawks.
“Attending KU football games and supporting KU Athletics were truly some of Mom and Dad’s favorite activities. We happily continue where they left off by supporting this exciting project,” said Kay Almanza.
Mike Kimbell added: “We believe it’s our turn to step up and help KU at this pivotal time. This project is so exciting and worthy of the legacy that Mom and Dad helped create, while also allowing us a chance to be an important part of KU’s future.”
The family’s KU ties extend four generations, starting with Charlie’s mom and Sharon’s dad all the way through to Charlie and Sharon’s grandchildren: Fischer (KU ’21), Ellen (KU ’20), and Jackson (KU ’27).
This transformative donation will provide critical support for the Gateway Project, aligning with the university’s strategic vision for a dynamic and innovative campus.
“Mike, Michelle, Kay, and Dan are wonderful friends to KU and passionate advocates for our student-athletes,” Goff said. “We are profoundly grateful for their exceptional generosity, and we are honored to be part of their family’s KU story. It is fitting that this multigenerational Jayhawk family are leaders for this transformative project, while honoring Charlie and Sharon’s enduring legacy.”
Chancellor Douglas Girod said the gift marks a significant milestone for the Gateway District.
“This gift sends a clear message that KU and our Athletics program are vital to generations of Jayhawks,” Girod said. “The Kimbell and Almanza families’ support will sustain and enhance our momentum. We are thankful for their generous support.”
The Gateway District will simultaneously enhance the KU football program while also driving economic development to Lawrence, the state of Kansas and beyond. The Gateway District will transform the north entrance to campus in a profound way to drive student enrollment and economic benefit to Kansas. The project will develop a new campus gateway, multiuse space and upgraded football facilities, all of which will enhance KU’s ability to recruit and retain students.
This transformative gift will empower the university to realize its goals for the Gateway Project, advancing its vision and making a lasting impact on the student and fan experience as well as our university and business communities.
The Gateway District is a key priority for the Ever Onward Campaign, which was recently announced by KU Endowment. Ever Onward is the largest capital campaign in the history of the University of Kansas. For more information, please visit kugatewaydistrict.com and kueveronward.org.