Magruder gives $120,000 for a Wrestling Facility
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Magruder gives $120,000 for a Wrestling Facility
May 19, 2005

Ron Magruder, Group President of an Ontario-based company, donated $60,000 to help start construction of a Wrestling facility for Cumberland University . In 1997 Magruder also helped start the wrestling program. When he was the CEO of Cracker Barrel in Lebanon , he bought Cumberland University wrestling mats and started a $100,000 endowment for the budget.

Magruder was a Conference champion in wrestling at Central high school in Wheaton , Illinois then entered business without attending college. Magruder joined General Mills in 1972 as part of the Red Lobster operating team and advanced rapidly through various management positions. In 1981, he was named vice president for International Growth and Development, responsible for the expansion of Red Lobster in Japan and Canada . He became president of Casa Gallardo Mexican Restaurants in 1982 and president of York Steakhouse a year later.

In 1987, Magruder was named executive vice president of General Mills Restaurants and president of The Olive Garden, and became senior vice president of General Mills two years later.

He was named Restaurant Operator of the Year in 1991, and received the Gold Chain Award that year and the Silver Plate Award in 1993. He is a frequent keynote speaker for hotel and restaurant conferences, and serves on business school advisory boards at three universities.

Magruder was general chairman of the United Negro College Fund Campaign in 1994, and chairman of Scouting for Food, a Boy Scouts of America project. He endowed a chair in restaurant management at the University of Central Florida . In 1994 Magruder was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum Stillwater, Oklahoma.

In August 2001 he was named Chief Executive of Hops Restaurant Bar and Brewery, after building Orlando , Olive Garden and the Lebanon , Cracker Barrel into nationally prominent brands. He then moved to Buffalo New York with his current company.

The Cumberland University Head Wrestling Coach Jarad Swint and his staff have a goal of building a wrestling facility within Swint's first three years at Cumberland University . In July he will have been employed at Cumberland University for two years. In the past two years the coaching staff at Cumberland University has produced the schools first individual national champion, three All-Americans and six Academic All-Americans. Today Cumberland University received a check for $60,000. This contribution is half of a two year commitment of $120,000 from Magruder.

Cumberland University is now looking to get another $80,000 to $100,000 to complete the project. "We are looking at building a facility that would be close to 10,000 square feet to include a wrestling room, locker room, weight room, aerobic machines, laundry room, and coach's offices. The facility would enable us to have our home duals inside of the building. The donation from Ron should get the building erected and another $80,000 to $100,000 would enable us to complete the project. "I cannot thank Ron enough for his continued support of this program." Last year Swint named the outstanding wrestler award "the Ron Magruder Award." "Ron is definitely an outstanding individual and deserves more than just an award named after him for his contribution to this wrestling program. I think the first time I meet him in person I will have to give him a great big bear hug. He has helped make our dream of building a wrestling facility a reality. Again, I can't thank him enough."