With the opening of the Al Irwin Academic Center on Oct. 30, UC Irvine student-athletes will benefit from expanded space and technologies for first-academic support.

The 5,100-square-foot center, located in Crawford Hall, is named for UC Irvine’s first water polo and swim coach who also served as an athletic administrator. His impact on athletics has been felt throughout Orange County. The center was supported by a lead gift from Martha and Jim Newkirk.

The Al Irwin Academic Center will significantly expand access to computers, study areas and offices for private sessions for the 400 student-athletes who participate on UC Irvine’s 18 Division I sports teams. The center houses include 24 computer stations along the north wall, featuring the latest information technology. Tutoring and study space, staff offices for confidential sessions, and a casual study area all have relaxing views of the Anteater pool from an expansive south-facing window.

“The Al Irwin Academic Center sends a clear and powerful message to scholar-athletes, coaches, the surrounding community and alumni about UC Irvine’s commitment to transforming the student-athlete experience by providing a quality learning environment,” says Michael Izzi, director of intercollegiate athletics.

The center will also provide services such as academic consultation for course selection, class scheduling and skills development classes (including study strategy workshops, note and test taking), orientation for freshman and transfer student-athletes as well as academic and life management skills. Center advisers will assist with summer-school assessment and assistance, tutoring, and mentoring opportunities.

“The new center will provide intellectual and social community support that contributes to the holistic development of student-athletes and stimulates camaraderie among all students who participate in UC Irvine athletics,” Izzi adds.

More than 300 people attended an opening celebration, including UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake, who with Irwin participated in ribbon-cutting activities.