The University of Wollongong will sponsor the MS Sydney to the Gong Ride for the first time in the fund-raiser's 32-year history.
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Patterson said the move was part of a renewed branding and positioning strategy, with the ride a good method of community engagement, raising awareness of healthy lifestyle and couching UOW as a "destination university".
"This event goes through a major catchment area for us in terms of school leavers. It goes through the Sutherland Shire, which represents roughly 40 per cent of our students," said Prof Patterson, himself a keen cyclist poised to take part in the MS fund-raiser.
With fewer than seven weeks until the November 3 ride, about 6700 of 10,000 registration forms (participation is capped) have been submitted.
Organisers rely on sponsorship, and ask participants to commit to raising $250 each, to reach a $4.5 million fund-raising target.
The ride begins 90 kilometres from Wollongong in Sydney Park, St Peters, or from an Engadine location 53 kilometres away for riders wanting a shorter course.
Former Australian Test cricketer and UOW brand ambassador Adam Gilchrist will captain a TeamUOW group of riders.
Neither UOW nor event organisers would disclose the size of the university's commitment, which is a combination of financial and in-kind support, making it one of the event's gold sponsors.
MS Australia general manager, brand and marketing, Jan Staunton, said UOW was a natural fit with the long-running ride.
"The Gong ride is the largest mass participation event on the NSW cycling calendar ... money raised by Gong participants will provide essential day-to-day assistance and support to people living with MS," she said.