CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University has received a $5 million gift commitment to advance its performing arts programs and its emerging leadership in digital arts, performance technology and communication. The gift launches a major effort to elevate support for OSU's School of Arts and Communication.

The gift from an anonymous donor is the largest the university has ever received for the arts.

One hundred percent is dedicated to endowments, providing a permanent source of funding.

"This cornerstone investment in the arts is vital to our mission because great arts and sciences programs are at the core of every great research university," said OSU President Edward Ray. "The arts provide the context and inspiration - they drive the culture of creativity, innovation and diversity that is essential to a thriving research environment. Excellence in the arts supports OSU's growing impact and influence in all arenas."

A portion of the gift comes as a challenge, with $1 million of the commitment contingent upon the university securing an additional $1 million in private support for the School of Arts and Communication. Any gift or pledge of $25,000 or more to the school qualifies for this challenge.

The anonymous gift establishes endowments for four faculty and staff positions, including support for the head of the School of Arts and Communication and two professors. The fourth endowment will support a new position at the university:  a director of the performing arts who will promote arts offerings at OSU and connect with arts programs in the area.

"We are excited about strengthening our partnership with the arts organizations and venues throughout our community, and all will benefit from this coordinator position," said Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. "It's a development very much in keeping with the university's goal of elevating the arts and the humanities and enriching our state through excellent programs in music, theatre and fine arts."

The donor's gift also creates endowed scholarship, graduate fellowship and program funds in the performing arts.

"The job of the liberal arts, of the performing and visual arts particularly, is to help students think broadly and clearly about the world, and to inspire their passion and curiosity," said Larry Rodgers, executive dean of the Division of Arts and Sciences. "A dynamic arts environment is critical for the education and life preparation of all our students. We look forward to building on OSU's rich heritage and are determined to make elevating the arts the university's next great accomplishment."

In accordance with its strategic plan, OSU has reorganized its academic structures over the last few years to increase multidisciplinary collaboration, innovation and operational efficiencies. As part of this process, the College of Liberal Arts has restructured to elevate the arts, technology and communications. This led to the creation of the School of Arts and Communication in June 2012, which includes five programs: art, music, new media communications, speech communication and theatre.

Increasing support for the school is among the College of Liberal Arts' highest priorities for the final stage of The Campaign for OSU, the university's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, donors have provided $900 million toward the campaign's overall $1 billion goal.

The anonymous gift leverages the Provost's Faculty Match Program, which was designed to encourage donors to endow faculty positions that support priorities identified in the university's strategic plan. Through the match, the Provost's Office will provide an additional $900,000 over five years to support the arts at Oregon State.


Larry Rodgers, 541-737-4582

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.