University president Ruth Watkins and athletic director Mark Harlan announced a generous $17.5 million donation from the Garff family (owners of the Ken Garff line of auto dealers) prior to Utah’s final spring scrimmage of 2019. The donation is the largest such gift in the history of Utah’s athletic department, and will be used to complete stadium renovations in the south end zone.
“This gift will allow for a new enhanced experience for our faithful fanbase as well as improving upon what is the best home field advantage in the PAC-12 and beyond,” quipped Harlan in front of a crowd that included much of the extended Garff family and members of the local media. “I imagine as well that the International Olympic Committee will take note of what is going on here today, to this addition to this iconic stadium”, a sentiment that was echoed by Robert Garff in his remarks.
“If the IOC is willing, it will again be a venue for the opening ceremonies of the Winter games in either 2026 or 2030; I think that’s a given.”
Upon completion before the 2021 season, the renovated south end zone will be named the Ken Garff Performance Zone. The donation now gives the athletic department $32 million of their $35 million goal from philanthropic sources, with an additional $45 million coming from various internal sources, including an additional fee imposed upon season ticket holders.