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Major gift from Arlene Schnitzer supports new Portland State University College of the Arts
Author: University Communications
Posted: February 18, 2013

 

Arlene Schnitzer has given $2.3 million to Portland State University in memory of her late husband Harold to build a new three-story glass tower in Lincoln Hall that adds visible performance space to the historic Portland building. The gift coincides with the public announcement of the creation of the College of the Arts, a new college at PSU that includes the School of Architecture, School of Art and Design, School of Music, and School of Theatre and Film.

“This is the culmination of years of hard work by our faculty, staff and students,” said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU. “It’s because of their hard work and the support of the arts community in Portland that we decided to create this new college.”

The College of the Arts, formerly known as the School of Fine and Performing Arts, has some of the fastest growing programs at PSU, including architecture, film and graphic design. More than 2,200 students are majoring in Arts programs. 

“The college name reflects the stature of our programs and the work of our faculty locally, nationally and globally, the increase in our professional and liberal arts degree programs and in the numbers of our majors, the expansion of our partnerships, private donations, and the funded research that our faculty conduct,” said Barbara Sestak, dean of the College. 

Pictured left: Arlene Schnitzer/Keene Studio 

 Schnitzer’s gift will help pay for the construction of a glass tower at Lincoln Hall, home of the College Dean’s office and the School of Music and School of Theatre & Film. The tower will complete the renovation of the 102-year-old building and provide space for instructional studios, an art gallery and a black box theater. It will face Southwest Broadway and allow those walking or driving by to see the arts in action. Lincoln Hall performance spaces also serve as sought after venues for many arts organizations in Portland with 17 community organizations staging more than 85 events in Lincoln Hall in 2012. 

Both Arlene and her late husband Harold attended high school in Lincoln Hall before it became Portland State University.  

“Before it was a university, Lincoln Hall served as a reminder to the early arrivals in this community that education was the key to a progressive city and individual success,” said Schnitzer. “I am proud to be making a gift to help build this tower in memory of my husband, Harold.  The education he received in this building led to his ability to have a strong vision for the future of this city and state, which he loved very much. Hopefully this iconic tower will serve as inspiration for a continuing vision of a great and creative education within the halls of this building.”

Schnitzer said she hopes her gift will inspire others to do likewise. The university needs $1.1 million to complete its funding campaign for the $37 million Lincoln Hall project. 

Lincoln Hall is PSU's seventh LEED certified building on campus and its first LEED Platinum building. It was built in 1911 as a high school before it became the first building of the current PSU campus in 1952.