A Place to Play
Hunter J. Smith gives $10.7 Million for Construction of Band Rehearsal Hall
Hunter Smith, who with her husband, the late Carl W. Smith, gave the University $1.5 million in 2003 to help fund the Cavalier Marching Band, gave $10.7 million for construction of a rehearsal hall for the University’s band and music programs.
Mrs. Smith, who made her gift through the Hunter Smith Family Foundation, is well known for her enthusiasm for the marching band—and for her desire to enhance the game-day experience at U.Va. athletic events.
“One of Carl’s and my favorite things was being a part of helping to create the marching band,” Mrs. Smith said. “We were so pleased at the fantastic job the University did in getting the band up and running—including the hiring of band director Bill Pease, in designing the uniforms and in recruiting top-notch students. It all happened so quickly and so well.”
The University’s band program is part of the music department and includes a basketball band, a concert band and a wind ensemble, in addition to the Cavalier Marching Band, which debuted in September 2004, in Scott Stadium. Now, Mrs. Smith said that she believes the band program has surpassed all expectations and has earned itself a first-class practice venue of its own. “I am pleased to be able to help make that happen,” she added.
“Hunter Smith is carrying on Carl’s legacy of thoughtful philanthropy—giving that reflects her passion as well as institutional needs,” former University President John T. Casteen III said. “Hunter’s continued leadership and interest in the development of the band program will benefit not only generations of music students here at the University but also thousands of loyal University supporters. We are once again indebted to her for her generosity and her creativity.”
Mrs. Hunter described the building design as a wonderful, light-filled space.” The Hunter Smith Band Building, which opened in August 2011, is located on the Arts Common on Culbreth Road across from Ruffin Hall, the new studio art building. The facility includes a 4,000-square-foot rehearsal room, offices, a small library, and changing rooms, as well as space for both instrument and uniform storage.
One of the University’s campaign priorities is to provide a student experience unmatched on any American campus. “Hunter’s gift is a clear reflection of that priority,” Mr. Casteen said.