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American 1 Credit Union And Spring Arbor University Announce Partnership At Dedication Ceremony

American 1 Credit Union staff and board members with officials from Spring Arbor University inside The Arena Sponsored by American 1 Credit Union.

American 1 Credit Union and Spring Arbor University unveiled a new partnership for the naming of their primary sports venue inside the newly christened McDonald Athletic Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2019. “The Arena Sponsored by American 1 Credit Union” will be the heart of the McDonald Athletic Center.

A $250,000 gift to Spring Arbor University by American 1 Credit Union was approved by the American 1 Board of Directors for the renovation of the McDonald Athletic Center and the naming of The Arena. The $1.9 million renovation project focused on increased safety and functionality of the 42-year old facility, which is a center of activity on the Spring Arbor University campus.

 Speaking at the ceremony, American 1 CEO Martha Fuerstenau remarked, “We are excited to partner with the University on this project because we think it’s a good idea to support what Spring Arbor University supports; that is, a community of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and a passion for ethical service.  SAU graduates are perfect hires for American 1 Credit Union because we need big thinkers and lifelong learners.  We need people who are ethically minded and have a servant’s heart. For decades, American 1 has enjoyed success recruiting quality team members who are Spring Arbor University graduates and students.”

The MAC, renamed to honor the late Spring Arbor High School and Junior College coach and teacher Donald “Mac” McDonald, has been the home of SAU Athletics for 42 years. Renovations to the MAC include updates to the gymnasium, improvements to exterior aesthetics, improved women’s and men’s locker rooms and a brand-new lobby entrance featuring former hall-of-fame athletes as well as accomplishments from current SAU athletic teams.

 The complete transformation of the MAC would not be possible without support from several significant donors, including the lead gift from Charlie and alumna Beth (McDonald HS ’61, JC ’63, ‘65) Kuntzleman, as well as the sponsorship from American 1 Credit Union, which allowed for the improvement of the arena within the MAC.

“The improved facility will undoubtedly increase visibility and improve our ability to recruit top-flight student-athletes,” commented Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Ryan Cottingham.

Renovations to the arena include:

  • Improved safety and functionality with the addition of new bleachers that create arena-style seating.
  • Resurfaced hardwood gym floor used for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.
  • Upgraded sound system, scoreboard and LED video display to improve fan experience.
  • Improved training room and team laundry equipment and renovation of public restrooms.
  • New VIP suite for donors and visitors.

“The newly renovated McDonald Athletic Center will offer the best possible experience for our athletes,” said SAU President Dr. Brent Ellis. “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of Charlie and Beth Kuntzleman, who provided the lead gift for this project. The SAU community will benefit for years to come, thanks to the generosity of the donors who contributed to this project.”

 The announcement of the contribution to the University coincided with the beginning of site preparation for a new American 1 branch on M-60 in Spring Arbor Township.

“Spring Arbor the University and Spring Arbor the Township are uniquely intertwined, unlike other university towns,” commented Fuerstenau.

Chairman of the American 1 Board Philip E. Hoffman Jr. said, “Our investment in Spring Arbor University demonstrates our commitment to the community as we simultaneously make another significant investment in Spring Arbor just down the road, building a new American 1 branch location.”

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