The DeBruce Center, Home of the Original Rules of Basketball, Opens
The Rules of Basketball and all exhibits have been installed and open for public view in the DeBruce Center, a new student and visitor center at the University of Kansas.
The 32,000-square-foot, three-story building adjoins the northeast corner of historic Allen Fieldhouse. The building houses a display of the original “Rules of Basket Ball,” as written by James Naismith in 1891. It also includes a student center with retail dining, café seating and event space.
The retail dining part of the center opened in late April to provide food services for the campus community. The basketball rules were installed to ensure their specialized display case met strict archival and humidity requirements. Additional exhibits in the building feature a multi-dimensional experience of KU’s rich basketball history.
The building is named in recognition of a lead gift from Paul DeBruce and the DeBruce Foundation. The foundation’s director, Paul DeBruce, of Mission Hills, Kansas, graduated from KU in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“This entire project was made possible through the generosity of KU’s friends and supporters,” said Chancellor (Bernadette) Gray-Little. “Thanks to them, the DeBruce Center will be an outstanding place for the KU community to gather and will provide the university with a space to welcome visitors and fans.”
The story of the rules, and the subsequent development of the game, are arranged along a linear path, which is entwined into every element of the building, including the exhibits, the Courtside Café, Roasterie Coffee and the Original Rules Gift Shop to serve the KU community and visitors.
“We are so grateful for the generosity and vision of Paul DeBruce and the DeBruce Foundation,” said KU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self. “This beautiful facility will ensure that for many years Kansas Basketball will continue to maintain the same standard of excellence it has set for the past 100 years.”
The original document of Naismith’s “Rules of Basket Ball” was donated to the university by David Booth of Austin, Texas. He earned two KU degrees: a bachelor’s in economics in 1968 and a master’s in 1969.
The center was designed by Gould Evans Architects and built by Mar Lan Construction. “One of our design goals was to create a building that respects the legacy of Allen Fieldhouse while making the history of basketball visible to passersby,” said Kelly Dreyer, project designer with Gould Evans Architects.
For more information about the DeBruce Center, visit debrucecenter.ku.edu.
About the Donor
Five years after graduating from KU’s School of Business in 1973, Paul DeBruce founded DeBruce Grain, Inc., and served as Chairman and CEO until the company was sold in 2010. For more than three decades, Mr. DeBruce led a team of more than 600 dedicated employees that built DeBruce Grain into an international, industry-leading agricultural and grain-trading firm. In 1989, Mr. DeBruce established The DeBruce Foundation, which works to expand opportunities for individuals and to act as a catalyst for innovative projects that solve problems faced by our community and our country.
About the KU Memorial Unions
The KU Memorial Unions operate as the campus community center, located primarily in the Kansas Union, the DeBruce Center and the forthcoming Central District new student center (opens Fall 2018). A not-for-profit affiliate of KU, union proceeds are dedicated to providing services and programs for students and the campus.
The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university’s mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.