A! Magazine for the Arts

Anonymous donor pledges $100K to ETSU Arts Initiative

September 9, 2014

JOHNSON CITY – An anonymous donor with strong ties to East Tennessee State University has pledged $100,000 to the ETSU Arts Initiative.

The Arts Initiative is a comprehensive plan to support and expand the university's arts programs. The centerpiece of the plan is the construction of a new fine arts classroom facility that would house performance halls, practice space, classrooms, lab spaces, faculty offices and display areas for showcasing student and faculty work.

"The donor's family originally moved to Johnson City for the specific purpose of assuring a quality education for their children, first at "Training School,' which is now University School," according to ETSU Director of University Advancement Karen Sullivan. "Their parents hoped this foundation would lead them to pursue higher education, and it did. All of them eventually went on to earn degrees from ETSU.

"To me, the significance of this anonymous donation is that this family has always believed in ETSU and has worked tirelessly over the years to promote the school," Sullivan added. "She has had a very successful career. She's traveled all over the world, and feels she owes that, in great part, to what she learned at ETSU."

"I have a real loyalty to this university," the donor said. "I've watched it grow and expand from college to university status and the addition of a world-class medical school. Our ETSU alumni are recognized on the national and international stages. I'm glad to be part of helping the ETSU Arts Initiative, because I feel that's what alumni should do. I want to see ETSU continue to expand on a national level and expose our area talent in the worldwide arena, and the Arts Initiative will go a long way in helping to do this."

The anonymous donor "wishes she could give millions like Mr. Martin," Sullivan said, referencing James C. Martin, whose $3 million leadership gift kick-started the fundraising campaign for the ETSU Arts Initiative. "The donor doesn't want credit for herself, but rather wants to honor her family with this gift."

The projected cost of the facility was originally $38 million when the initiative was launched in February 2013, with $9.5 million in matching funds to come from the university. However, according to Anita DeAngelis, director of ETSU's Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, the state recently adjusted the budget to reflect inflation, and the current projected cost of the Arts Initiative is $40.65 million, with approximately $10.2 million in matching funds required from ETSU.

For more information on the ETSU Arts Initiative, call 423-439-4242 or visit possibilities.etsu.edu.