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Duke Endowment Gift to Davidson Supports Scholarship Fund & Performance Hall

Duke Performance Hall
Architectural drawing of The Duke Family Performance Hall.

November 15, 2000
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

Davidson College President Robert F. Vagt has announced a $10 million commitment from The Duke Endowment to the college's recently announced "Let Learning Be Cherished" campaign. The grant provides the naming gift for the performance hall in Davidson's Knobloch Campus Center, which will open next year, and establishes endowed scholarships for middle-income students. It is the largest foundation gift in Davidson's 163-year history.

"Because of The Endowment's long and close relationship with Davidson, and because the new Knobloch Campus Center will be a key location for bringing the Davidson 'family' together, we thought it would be appropriate to name the new performance hall for the Duke family," said Elizabeth H. Locke, Ph.D., president of The Duke Endowment. "We're also excited about the challenge grant endowing scholarships for middle-income students, who sometimes find it difficult to secure financial aid. We hope this fund will help prevent these young people from missing out on the benefits of a Davidson education."

Eight-million dollars of the grant will be applied to construction of The Duke Family Performance Hall, which will be dedicated in the fall of 2001 as part of the $36 million Knobloch Campus Center. The hall will seat 600 spectators on the orchestra floor and two upper balconies, and provide a showcase facility for Davidson's theatre and music programs, formal college functions, visiting performers, and speakers.

Duke Performance Hall Construction
Construction of The Duke Family Performance Hall is underway.

Al Filoni of the Pittsburgh architectural firm MacLachlan Cornelius & Filoni, designed the campus center to be a crossroads of the college community. In addition to The Duke Family Performance Hall, the building includes a college union with bookstore, café, post office, copy center, fitness facility, and student services offices. The doors of The Duke Family Performance Hall will open onto the campus center public areas to emphasize the connection between student life and the performing arts.

"Artists generally specialize in one field, but Al embraces three--music, theater, and architecture," said former physical plant director Bob Collins.

Professor Joe Gardner, chair of the theatre department, noted that students will now have the opportunity to perform in one of the most modern facilities in the country. Professor Ray Sprague, chair of the music department, added, "The Duke Endowment is helping Davidson create a performance space that will inspire our students and showcase the excellence that is this college."

Two million dollars of The Duke Endowment grant will create a scholarship endowment to provide financial aid for students whose families are in the middle income range. "Students from middle income families have been the backbone of our college throughout its history," said Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Nancy Cable. "The Duke Endowment's gift will make Davidson even more accessible to talented young men and women who come from that background."

The Duke Endowment is the single largest benefactor to Davidson, having supported it with more than $61-million since 1924, when James B. Duke included the college as a beneficiary of his Indenture of Trust. "Davidson College is blessed by James B. Duke's visionary philanthropy," said Davidson President Robert Vagt. "Sharing experiences--artistic, entertaining, and profound--is a crucial aspect of community. We are proud to think that many of the most thrilling and delightful, and even the most challenging, moments in the life of our college will take place within The Duke Family Performance Hall."

Davidson's "Let Learning Be Cherished" campaign seeks to raise $250-million for financial aid, faculty resources, and initiatives to preserve and enhance the college's sense of community. The campaign, which was announced on October 6, takes its name from the college's Latin motto. More than $110 million toward the goal has already been raised.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by "U.S. News and World Report" magazine.

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