February 1, 2001

Center for Theatre Arts To Undergo Renaming

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To commemorate a contribution from University donors Richard J. Schwartz ’60 and his wife Sheila, the Center for Theatre Arts will be rededicated the Sheila W. and Richard J. Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

“With [Schwartz’] new support for the performing arts — and the success we have enjoyed in so many other areas of University life this year — we have restored the arts to their rightful place in our great University,” said President Hunter R. Rawlings III, at a dinner on Jan 24.

The University has withheld information regarding the size of the donation. The Schwartz Center, formerly the Center for Theatre Arts, has not formulated specific plans for using the money, but according to the Cornell News Service, it will be added to the general University endowment.

“It will be of great help to artistic development to the program. We will be able to do things we never could before,” said David Bathrick, director of the department of theater, film and dance.

The Schwartz Center facilities include three theaters, dance studios and sound rooms.

“The Schwartz Center is a magnificent facility from which our entire community benefits,” said Philip E. Lewis, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “All the arts at Cornell are indebted to Richard Schwartz not only for his generous financial backing, but also for his enlightened leadership and commitment to education in the arts in our state.”

Jenny Schwartz ’95, daughter of Richard and Sheila, directed plays at the Center for Theatre Arts while she was studying theatre arts at Cornell. As a Cornell director, she oversaw “Blue Window” and was an assistant director for “The House of Leaves.” Because of Schwartz’s activities, her parents became heavily involved in the arts.

The Schwartzes have made several contributions to the Cornell community in the past. The Richard J. Schwartz Professorship in Social Sciences is held by Isaac Kramnick, chair of the government department. The Schwartzes have also endowed the directorship of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, held by Franklin Robinson.

In recognition of the Schwartzes’ generosity, the auditorium in Rockefeller Hall was also named after them. Richard Schwartz is currently a Cornell trustee fellow and a member of the University Council.

Besides their involvement in Cornell theatre, the Schwartzes are members of The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Richard Schwartz also serves on the board of the National Institute of Museum Services and chairs the New York State Council on the Arts.

“As a standpoint of the University, it will give it [the Schwartz Center] a name, which is a nice thing,” Lewis said.

Archived article by Kelly Samuels