University of New Mexico Athletics and the Lobo Club have announced that Margaret and Turner Branch have contributed $1.5 million to Lobo Athletics for the naming rights to the football field at University Stadium. The field will now be called "Branch Field" and will honor these two Albuquerque attorneys who are proud University of New Mexico alumni. The Branches have made numerous significant contributions in support of UNM Athletics for more than 30 years.
This landmark donation is the second largest gift ever made to UNM Athletics by living individuals and counts toward the $75 million goal of the "Lobo Leap to Excellence" capital campaign for Athletics, as well as the university-wide comprehensive campaign," Changing Worlds: The Campaign for UNM." To show their appreciation, UNM Athletics and the Lobo Club will recognize the Branches during halftime of the season-opening football game on Sept. 1 when the Lobos play host to Southern University at 3 p.m., MDT.
When fans arrive at University Stadium to kick off the 2012 season, they will notice a brand new, state-of-the-art, synthetic field that was built with the support of the New Mexico legislature and Governor Susana Martinez. The turf now will be emblazoned with "Branch Field" on each half. FieldTurf, the national leader in artificial turf, has manufactured and installed the surface in the stadium. The naming rights for "Branch Field" are effective for the next 15 years.
"The generous support of alumni such as Margaret and Turner Branch is key to the continued success of this university," said UNM president, Dr. Robert Frank. "That kind of leadership is inspiring because it shows our current students that their predecessors appreciate the Lobo experience enough to make it even better for future generations."
Turner Branch is a 1960 graduate of the University of New Mexico, where he served as president of the student body. He was a member of Phi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honors Society, an active member in Chaaka, and was president of his social fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha – where he continues to be an active and supportive alumnus. He graduated from Baylor Law School, where he was editor of the Baylor Law Review and received the T.R. McDonald Award as the outstanding law student in 1969.
His wife, Margaret, received her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico with honors in 1975. Mrs. Branch was student body president, was an active member of the Chi Omega sorority, which she is still active in today as an alumnus, and participated on the UNM golf team. Margaret received her law degree in 1978 from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Together, they own and operate the Branch Law Firm – which Turner established in 1966.
"We are thrilled to honor Margaret and Turner Branch with the naming rights to our football field," said UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs. "I can't think of a better couple to have their name indelibly associated with Lobo Football than the Branches."
The Branches' donation is vital to the task first-year coach Bob Davie has undertaken in building a foundation for the Lobo football program.
"It is a tremendous honor to have the Branch name on our football field," Davie said. "I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with Margaret and Turner Branch and have a deep appreciation for all that they stand for. We hope to show our appreciation of their generosity by putting a product on the field that they and all of New Mexico can be proud of."
The naming rights are subject to the approval of the full UNM Board of Regents.
Media contacts: Dianne Anderson, UNM (505) 277-1807; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Greg Archuleta, Lobo Athletics (505) 925-5520; email: email@example.com; or Wendy Antonio, UNM Foundation (505) 277-9520; email: firstname.lastname@example.org