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Anonymous donor commits $9.6 million to William & Mary

An anonymous donor has committed $9.6 million to the Campaign for William and Mary, establishing an estate provision that will benefit the visual arts on campus.pottery

“The fine arts discipline is the only academic instruction that covers all of the others,” the donor said. “Whether studying the works of the masters or creating works of their own, students learn about history, philosophy, religion, government, mathematics, and the design of everyday objects. For that reason, the visual arts are vital to a strong, liberal arts education. William and Mary understands their importance, and I want to ensure that the students and faculty in the art department have the resources that they will need well into the future.”

A longstanding supporter of the arts on campus, the donor previously committed $5 million to help renovate the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater.

“This extraordinary friend believes in the enlightening and surpassing power of the arts, and has chosen ­ once again ­ to invest in them generously at William and Mary,” said President Gene R. Nichol. “Expanding on a heartening dedication to the amphitheater, this additional commitment to the visual arts speaks to a love of the arts and the College that our campus and local communities will long treasure.”

The College offers a diverse arts curriculum, requiring each undergraduate to take at least two credit hours of creative or performing art ­ an unusual requirement among universities nationwide.

“We are grateful to have such a friend who truly understands the important role the arts play at William and Mary,” said Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss. “Our students are incredibly well-rounded, excelling not only in our science labs and classrooms, but on our stages and in our studios. Thanks to this donor, we can imagine an even brighter future for the arts ­ particularly the visual arts ­ at William and Mary.”

In 2000, the College announced the renovation of the Lake Matoaka Amphitheater, which was built in 1946 to house The Common Glory, a symphonic drama about the American Revolution. The restored amphitheater is set to open in 2007.

Both commitments benefit the Campaign for William and Mary, a broad-based, seven-year effort to raise a half-billion dollars for the College’s schools and programs by June 2007. The College reports its Campaign figures quarterly and, as of Sept. 30, 2006, the College had raised nearly $477 million ­ a figure that does not include this anonymous commitment.

“This generous estate provision, along with several other recent and pending major gifts, puts the College well within sight of our goal,” said Sean Pieri, vice president for university development. “But we’re going to work harder than ever during this last year to ensure we not only meet, but exceed, that goal. In the end, the Campaign is not about meeting a monetary objective, it’s about making a difference in the lives of William and Mary’s talented students and faculty.”