CORAL GABLES, Fla.— LB Jonathan Vilma has made a donation of $450,000 to his alma mater, the University of Miami, the school's Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst announced Tuesday afternoon.
In honor of this generous gift, the new football lounge at Miami's Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence will be named the "Jonathan Vilma Football Players' Lounge."
"It is an honor and a privilege to give back to the school that has done so much for me," said Vilma. "Hopefully, my donation will help to ensure the rich tradition and excellence the University of Miami is recognized for as we move towards a brighter future - GO CANES!"
Vilma led the Hurricanes in tackles three straight seasons from 2001-03, including a career-best 133 tackles in 2002 en route to All-BIG EAST First Team honors. He earned freshman All-America honors by Rivals.com in 2000 and was named a Butkus Award finalist in 2003 and a Verizon Academic All-American in 2002.
During Miami's 2001 national championship season, Vilma started 11-of-12 games at middle linebacker and finished with 87 tackles. He recorded nine tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in Miami's 37-14 Rose Bowl win over Nebraska that season.
"On behalf of the University of Miami, I'd like to thank Jonathan for his support and generosity," Eichorst said. "He left his mark on the field as one of the very best to wear a Hurricane uniform and his commitment to this project will only elevate his legend and legacy.
"This donation will better position our program to continue to recruit the best and the brightest student-athletes to represent the University of Miami," Eichorst said. "Jonathan's leadership and generosity truly inspires 'The U' family and sets an example to all Hurricanes past, present and future."
In seven NFL seasons, Vilma has recorded 779 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 11 interceptions. He has recorded more than 100 tackles in six of his seven professional seasons and was a starter on the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV championship team in 2009.
Vilma has been aggressive in helping others throughout his career. He established The Jonathan Vilma Foundation to support the building of a charter school in Haiti to educate students from kindergarten through high school.
Last season, Vilma hosted a "celebrity server" event in New Orleans that helped raise more than $200,000 for his foundation.