UW alum’s gift supports War Memorial west side renovations
LARAMIE -- A remarkable gift from a former Cowboy football walk-on under coach Al Kincaid in the 1980s is the first major gift to support planned renovations to the University of Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium.
“Although my time on the football team was brief, I have been a Wyoming Cowboy fan since we moved to Wyoming in 1976,” says Cody Ritchie.
The $1 million gift from Cody and his wife, Patsy, will support the west-side upgrades to War Memorial Stadium. The project is still being finalized but will include improvements and upgrades to restrooms, concessions, seating, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and the press area. The project will be supported by private gifts and funding from the Wyoming State Legislature.
“Cody and Patsy are so passionate about this university and so committed to the overall mission of UW athletics,” says Tom Burman, UW athletics director. “Cody talks frequently about the importance of the Cowboys as a means to keep engaged when you are forced to start your career outside of Wyoming. Tracking the Cowboys from long distance keeps you engaged with your college and brings you back to campus.”
Ritchie was born in Canada, and the family moved to Wyoming when he was 11. He attended junior high in Cody and graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper.
After high school, he attended UW, walking on to the football team and later playing rugby. In 1987, Ritchie earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UW and went on to earn a master’s in exercise sport science and athletic administration from the University of Arizona in 1991, where he was an intern for the Wildcat Club.
“From the time I was 12 years old, I wanted to attend UW, where my older brother Linden also graduated,” Ritchie says. “My time at UW and our family’s years in Wyoming helped forge lifelong friendships that mean the world to me.”
Ritchie is the founder, CEO and managing partner of Crest Insurance Group, a full-service insurance brokerage licensed in all 50 states. Crest Insurance Group employs more than 250 people in Arizona, California and Colorado and specializes in commercial property, casualty and workers compensation insurance, bonds, employee benefits, personal auto insurance, umbrella and homeowners insurance, and individual life and health insurance.
Ritchie worked for the company’s predecessor, Mueller & Associates, beginning in 1993 before leading the acquisition from BBVA Compass Bank and forming the modern Crest Group in 2010. At that time, he assumed the roles of CEO and managing partner.
Ritchie and Patsy are Wyoming athletics fans and avid supporters of the university, and this is the latest in a long line of gifts. They have given in support of the College of Business, the Cowboy Joe Club, the Wyoming rugby team, War Memorial Stadium enhancements and athletics facilities projects.
“Living in Wyoming and graduating from UW have provided me with an immense sort of pride,” Ritchie adds. “Being able to donate back to Wyoming athletics is an honor and a privilege. In doing so, it’s not just about bricks and mortar. It’s about reinvesting in people. The ‘giving-a-hand-up’ philosophy will help future generations of Cowboys and Cowgirls have a positive impact in our society. I ride for the brand.”
He and Patsy have also generously supported the University of Arizona, and Crest Insurance has supported the Ronald McDonald House, the United Way, Sister Jose Women’s Center, Community Food Bank, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the American Heart Association, the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson, and the University of Arizona’s Welcome Home Heroes program.
The Ritchies have four children -- Parker, Andrew, Julia and Kristin -- and live in Tucson, Ariz. Ritchie is an active member of the Tucson community and has served in many organizations, including the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Rio Nuevo and the Tucson Conquistadores.