Donors Give $1 Million to Upgrade Historic Kresge Gymnasium

Albion College Gym is Michigan’s Oldest Active Intercollegiate Athletic Facility

January 4, 2024

Joe ’82 and Julie Serra

Albion College’s historic Kresge Gymnasium—home to men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s wrestling—is slated to receive significant upgrades this summer thanks to a $1 million gift from Joe ’82 and Julie Serra.

“The remarkable generosity of Joe and Julie continues to help us provide Albion’s students with contemporary spaces they need to thrive in competition and grow in community,” said Wayne Webster, president of Albion College. “I’m particularly excited about what their most recent gift for Kresge means to our efforts to grow engagement and enhance the experience of all Britons and fans alike.”

One of the first on-campus facilities for indoor sports among MIAA members, Kresge Gymnasium is Michigan’s oldest active Intercollegiate athletic facility. Built in 1925, Kresge saw its first event on Jan. 8, 1926, when Albion defeated Olivet in a MIAA men’s basketball contest, 30-21. The Serra’s gift will go to support upgrades to the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms, help with lobby renovations, as well as add new bleachers and signage throughout the Kresge Gymnasium facility. Part of the gift, in collaboration with another gift from a generous donor, will support the new training room set to open late summer in the Dow Serra Center.

The Serra’s are long-time supporters of Albion College, most notably, providing a lead gift in 2019 to fund the Serra Fitness Center in the Dow Serra Center. They hope their family’s support of these important campus life facilities will help draw future students to consider Albion.

“Julie and I are true believers in Albion College,” said Joe Serra. “Our continued support is an investment not only in the future of the College but the overall belief in its direction under President Webster. Supporting Kresge makes it extra special because of our relationship with Coach Mike Turner and the living legacy he created in the building.”

Joe Serra is chairman of Serra Automotive, a $4 billion company that began with a single automobile dealership in Grand Blanc in 1973 under Joe’s father, Albert. Today, it ranks as one of the top 10 privately held retail automotive groups in the country and is comprised of 54 dealerships and 68 automotive franchises in seven states. Joe is the recipient of the General Motors Dealer of the Year Award, an award that he has earned for several years. Additionally, he has also served as the president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, president of the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association, and chairman of the North American International Auto Show.

Serra attended Albion, in part, to play basketball for head coach Mike Turner, and was co-captain of the 1981 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship team. He played three seasons for the Britons and earned his degree in economics and management in 1982. He went on to earn a certificate in strategic marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a letter winner for basketball each year, and is a Hall of Fame recipient as a team member. Joe is also a 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, a past trustee of Albion College, and a brother of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. Julie is a graduate of Michigan State University but visited Joe so much that she feels like she graduated Albion College too.

“We benefited greatly from Albion and we hope our gift allows the next generation of Albion students to benefit as well,” added Serra.

To join the Serra’s in supporting the training room or other campus upgrades, visit