Biggest one-time donation for arts facility makes MSU history

Missouri State University announced the biggest one-time, single donation in university history on Friday at the John Goodman Ampitheatre. The eight-figure gift will support construction of a new state-of-the-art facility in place of the current Art Annex along Grand Street.The money donated by the C.W. Titus Foundation in honor of Judith Enyeart Reynolds will be used to create a new “front porch” to the campus entryway west of National Avenue. Inspired by front porches in the residential neighborhood to the south, the new facility will be a place of connection and celebration for art, according to a news release.As the announcement was made by MSU President Clif Smart, the ampitheatre full of faculty, staff and community members erupted in cheers, woops and “wows.” Smart said the current Art Annex has been around for 70 years.”If we didn’t have this gift, we could not even get to this step,” Brent Dunn, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Missouri State Foundation, said. “Most gifts don’t come in quite like this.”The project is set to be complete in late fall 2025. Dunn said as design progresses there will be more private support needed for various spaces inside the building. Details about the new building name and design will become available in the upcoming weeks.He said that while the donation is making history, so are the changes the new building will offer to the entire campus, including new space for events and other activities for all academic programs.”This is a great start to the fall semester,” Dunn said.Shawn Wahl, dean of Reynolds College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, said this project shows what dreaming bigger is all about.”This historic gift inspires our team to create the best learning conditions for students in all academic programs,” he said. “Lab space, new black box theater, plays for guest scholars and on and on and on. Together, we dream bigger. Together, we uplift legacy. Together, we write the destination campus story. Together we build Judy’s front porch.”This is a part of series of work already completed to MSU’s arts facilities like Brick City in downtown Springfield, renovations to Ellis Hall, addition of the John Goodman Ampitheatre in the Judith Enyeart Reynolds Art Park and completion of the Grand Street underpass.More:Soil, foundation concerns spur MSU to empty Art Annex building near underpass projectThe C.W. Titus Foundation previously donated an eight-figure sum in 2020 to fund the Art Park and scholarships for students at the Reynolds College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. Tim Reynolds is a trustee of the C.W. Titus Foundation and Missouri State alumnus. Judy attended Missouri State and worked in the English department from 1966 until her retirement in 1994.

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