UCO Alumnus Chad Richison Funds Stadium Upgrades
UCO ushered in a new era for Broncho athletics, as the football facility was renamed the Chad Richison Stadium and extensive stadium improvements are set to take place, funded by the new namesake.
Chad Richison, founder and CEO of Paycom, announced a $10 million gift for the stadium improvements, bringing his total investment in Central to $25 million and continuing his legacy as the largest donor in UCO history.
The Chad Richison Stadium improvement and expansion project includes extensive landscaping to the south end. Several hundred boulders will surround a new waterfall feature with new trees and an upgraded video board installed on the south hill. On the east side, new stands with more than 1,900 seats will be added, increasing capacity to almost 12,000. The upper level will include new seating with a concourse including restrooms and concessions, as well as a new ticket office. New turf also will be installed on the football field.
The stadium improvement and expansion project is expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2022 UCO football season.
Previous investments by Richison have changed the landscape of the UCO campus.
In 2018, Central opened the Sports Performance Center, a 45,000-plus-square-foot, three-story building just north of the football field, which includes an academic center, nutrition area, theatre, two-story strength and conditioning area, as well as football locker room and offices for coaches and administrators.
An addition to the north side of Hamilton Field House opened in 2019 and includes one of the largest wrestling rooms in the country, a practice gymnasium, locker rooms and student-athlete lounges for wrestling, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, tennis, volleyball and soccer.
Richison, a native of Tuttle, Oklahoma, graduated from Central in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and was a member of the Broncho wrestling squad in the early ‘90s. Additionally, he was named one of UCO’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients in 2012 and was inducted into the UCO Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Chad’s multiple investments in our athletics facilities bolster our belief that UCO is a special place and Broncho athletic teams are uniquely positioned to win,” said Stan Wagnon, UCO athletic director.
“Chad’s story and support of UCO inspires our coaches and students to reach higher and be assured that great things can be achieved in life, and it can all start here at UCO.”
Q&A with Chad Richison
Q: Your latest gift of $10 million further solidified your position as the largest donor in university history, with a total investment of $25 million to date. Share with us your motivation to invest in UCO, specifically in athletics, and how you hope to see a return on investment as Broncho student-athletes use these facilities.
A: I was approached with an opportunity to help complete the dream about six years ago and I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. By then, most large high schools across our state had much better facilities than UCO. It’s tough to recruit student-athletes when your facilities are less than what they had in high school and I was happy to jump in to help. As a result of those original investments, we have made numerous upgrades and additions across athletics that have helped UCO level the playing field when recruiting student-athletes. These include the Sports Performance Center and the baseball field and clubhouse upgrades, along with the addition to the north side of Hamilton Field House. As the stadium is completed, I hope it becomes a source of pride for our alumni and the community.
Q: Your generosity extends beyond the Central campus, having founded both the Green Shoe Foundation and the Richison Family Foundation and signing The Giving Pledge. Tell us more about your commitment to using your success to help others. Do you hope to inspire others to follow your example?
A: Paycom is my life’s profession, but the Green Shoe Foundation and what it stands for is my life’s purpose. In 2015, I launched Green Shoe, which focuses on one’s life experiences prior to the age of 19. Through a one-week retreat, we help reconcile childhood traumas so attendees can live a life of peace and maturity. This type of sustainable work can have a lasting impact for generations. Sustainability is important to me and guides my philanthropy. The Richison Family Foundation gives to many sustainable organizations supporting education, health, foster care and other mental health initiatives. My hope is that all of my commitments inspire others and demonstrate that what we can achieve in life is only limited to our imagination, and when we do good deeds, the whole world unites to help us.
Q: Tell us about your Central experience. How did it prepare you for founding and leading an S&P 500 company?
A: UCO was and is a very special place to me. For me, it’s a place of independence and joy. As I reflect on my time at UCO, I’m reminded of how important it was for me to be at this university above all others. Hardworking, like-minded students surrounded me. Everyone I knew was working their way through college. Had I not gone to UCO, I don’t believe I would be in the same position I’m in today. Since founding Paycom in 1998, I have been dedicated to making life easier for businesses and the American worker. While we are one of the fastest-growing companies in the world, we also have a philanthropic spirit and are committed to serving those in the communities we call home.
Q: It’s clear you are passionate about education, athletics and advancing the future for the state of Oklahoma. What role do you believe higher education – specifically institutions like Central – play in preparing future generations and what advice would you offer to students as they embark on their careers?
A: Universities like UCO offer the opportunity for people to be the best version of themselves, to learn valuable life skills and how best to acclimate to a business’s culture. Getting a college degree is a proof source that someone is teachable and still craves learning. It shows they are motivated and curious. At Paycom, the majority of our employees have a bachelor’s degree or better. While there are a few jobs that require specific degrees, most simply require a degree. To us, a degree is proof of someone’s commitment to invest in themselves. My advice for future UCO graduates is to remember you can get anywhere you want to go from this university, and this Tuttle kid is a strong proof source of that. Dream big!