On Friday, Maker’s Mark started selling 8,400 commemorative bottles featuring University of Louisville football Coach Charlie Strong. Today, the university announced that Maker’s Mark will donate $500,000, part of that from the sale of the bottles, to a new $8 million academic center for athletes at U of L.
According to a story in The Courier-Journal, the Academic Center for Excellence will be built on the south end of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and will include tutoring areas, labs and classrooms. It will be open to all student athletes, including cheerleaders and the pep band.
Bill Samuels Sr. and Marjorie Samuels, who created Maker’s Mark, were both U of L alumni, and the family has a history of promoting education and local universities. Both Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. have served as trustees of Bellarmine University, for example, and Bill Jr. currently chairs that university’s $100 million capital campaign.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 5-9 p.m., the U of L athletic center will hold a bottle signing event at the Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville. Tickets to the event are $1 each and go on sale starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 26. Each ticket allows you to have two bottles signed by Strong, Bill Samuels, Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark master distiller Greg Davis and U of L athletic director Tom Jurich. Buy tickets here.
No word yet on whether U of L’s new academic center will be topped with red wax - but at least the color scheme works.