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A Letter from the Dean

CLA continues its exciting transformation. This spring we received a $25 million gift from an anonymous donor, which will pave the way for a new arts and education complex on the Corvallis campus.

This lead gift launches an effort to raise an additional $5 million in private support, with a match of $30 million in state bonds. This $60 million will allow us to refashion the existing LaSells Stewart Center to create an exciting new space where education, arts, performance and technology come together in a state-of-the-art venue. This new facility will bring them together into a central, dedicated space for the first time in university history.

Larry Rodgers

College of Liberal Arts Dean Larry Rodgers

We are immensely grateful for this gift, which is a cornerstone to solidifying Oregon State as a world-class university whose excellence extends in all directions.  And it will bring home how central the arts are to Oregon State’s success.

We’ve always had outstanding music, arts and theater.  Our focus on technology will also strengthen our already-robust collaborations across campus. Such partnerships make us unique. CLA has never tried to emulate a traditional conservatory model for the arts. Our creative alignments instead lie with the natural resources, science and engineering programs for which Oregon State is widely known, and in turn provide all OSU students with opportunities they can only get here.

This next phase really is about them. I cannot overestimate the benefits this new facility will bring to both CLA’s students and students throughout the university. We maintain OSU’s land grant spirit and welcome students of all majors into our bands, choirs and arts programs. We will continue to do so, with the knowledge that strong investment in the arts will put us among the top land grant institutions in the country.

Fulfilling this aspiration has been a long time coming. As Oregon State kicks off celebrations for its upcoming 150th anniversary, we can look back at CLA’s first dean, Gordon Gilkey, who is profiled in this issue. Gilkey was a tireless advocate for the arts, humanities and social sciences at Oregon State. During his 30-year tenure here, he went from teaching art in an old laundry room to being instrumental in making CLA a legitimate, degree granting college at the university.

Gilkey’s dream for the university was a “great hall,” a space for performances and education that would make Corvallis a household name when Oregonians thought about the arts. If Gilkey put this vision out there as an aspiration, we are now on the cusp of turning it into a reality.

Our new facility is slated to open in 2022. In the meantime, we will keep you updated on progress. Visit the Oregon State Foundation’s page for current information.

-September 2017

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