The Salazar family has been a UNC supporter for several years, establishing a scholarship to support UNC's first-generation students and student-athletes.
Rob and Lola Salazar dedicated a founding gift toward the completion of the University of Northern Colorado's newest facility, Campus Commons.
The gift of $500,000 comes through the Salazar Family Foundation, a Denver-based foundation with the mission of encouraging area students to achieve their educational goals. About 82 percent of UNC's undergraduates are Colorado residents.
UNC's mission with Campus Commons is to foster connections by providing a gateway to campus for everyone, a unique navigation and support hub that will offer individualized attention for students, and a showcase for UNC's world-class music and musical theatre programs.
The Salazar family has been a UNC supporter for several years—the Salazar Family Foundation established a scholarship to support UNC's first-generation students and student-athletes, and has been involved with various athletics initiatives.
About 34 percent of UNC students are first generation - the first in their families to attend college.
"Campus Commons will echo the mission of the Salazar Family Foundation by creating opportunities for each and every student to discover and live up to his or her potential," UNC President Kay Norton said. "Our top priority at UNC is student success and Campus Commons will bring that to life."
The innovative facility on UNC's main campus will break ground in the fall and is expected to be complete in two years. The university has committed to raising $12 million toward the $73.6 million project. In addition to $38 million in state funding and gifts, bonds backed by student fees will finance the building.
"We could not do this without the support of our donors," said UNC Board of Trustees Chair Dick Monfort. "We are excited to be a part of the Salazar's mission to ensure the best education possible for every student."
The Salazars also developed the award-winning student-housing complex near campus, University Flats, through their investment company, Central Street Capital, Inc.
UNC is a doctoral research university with premier programs in education, health sciences, business and the performing arts. Founded in 1889 as the state teachers' college, UNC has always worked to promote human understanding and enrich lives. With approximately 12,000 students enrolled, UNC focuses on five areas of engaged learning: research and creative work, civic engagement, global experiences, leadership and professional experience.
About the Salazar Family Foundation
Established in 1999 by Rob and Lola Salazar, the Salazar Family Foundation's mission is to impact the lifelong learning of students through supporting the growth and efforts of organizations committed to improving the quality of education and student's access to it.