Spelman Alumna LaTanya Richardson Jackson And Samuel L. Jackson Make Largest Donation In The University's History
"The love that both LaTanya and Sam continue to exhibit for Spelman since their time on stage decades ago is heartwarming," said Mary Schmidt Campbell, PH.D., President of Spelman.
December 14, 2021 at 7:07 pm
LaTanya Richardson Jackson, an alumna of Spelman College, and her husband Samuel L. Jackson are donating $5 million towards Spelman's John. D. Rockefeller Fine Arts Building, contributing to the most prominent alumni donation in the history of the school.
Friends of the Jacksons, George Lucas, and Mellody Hobson, through their Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, also contributed $10 million. Bank of America and descendants of John D. Rockefeller, who donated $2M and $300K respectively, also donated, totaling $17.3 million, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"We're pleased to support Spelman College as it inspires, trains, and develops the next generation of leaders, from entrepreneurship to the arts, with a commitment that aligns with our focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity," Anne Finucane, vice-chairman for Bank of America, said.
The 57-year-old fine arts building is "desperately in need of renovation," with reports of asbestos, inaccessibility to people with disabilities, poor ventilation, and outdated dressing rooms, bathrooms, and theaters. The construction is expected to start in the spring of 2022.
Arthur E. Frazier III, Spelman's director of facilities management and services, shared that renovation plans have been in the works for decades but never became the main focus until Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell became president in 2015.
Frazier explained the school decided a new proscenium theater for the Theater and Performance Department would be too costly. Instead, the university chose to construct a new building and preserve the existing theater maintaining the history of the Rockefeller building.
In honor of their lifetime of achievements, Spelman College will name a renovated theater, lobby, dressing rooms and supporting areas the LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson Performing Arts Center. https://t.co/KHTRV4flqO
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) May 10, 2021
"Richardson Jackson expressed an interest in seeing the Baldwin Burroughs Theater in the Rockefeller building improved," Frazier said. "One of the initial conversations I had with her happened to be on her 40th wedding anniversary. She shared that she and Sam met for the second time in that building; It has a special place in their hearts."
Spelman College announced via Twitter that its "renovated theater, lobby, dressing rooms, and supporting areas" will be known as LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson Performing Arts Center once completed.
"The love that both LaTanya and Sam continue to exhibit for Spelman since their time on stage decades ago is heartwarming," Mary Schmidt Campbell, PH.D., president of Spelman, said.
"We are grateful for their gift and that of the Hobson/Lucas Foundation, Bank of America, and David Rockefeller Jr. to renovate the space where these beloved talents got their start," she said. "Pioneers and leaders in producing important stories, LaTanya and Sam's excellence will forever resonate in the arts center named for them."