to a performing arts center / $1.5 million to endow a marching band
Alumnus Carl W. Smith And His Wife, Hunter, Support Efforts To Enhance
The Arts At The University Of Virginia
April 24, 2003 --
Carl and Hunter Smith have been investing in the
University of Virginia for many of the 45 years they have lived
in Charlottesville – and always with an eye toward furthering
the University’s goals and aspirations.
through a combination of personal pledges and foundation commitments,
the Smiths pledged $22 million to the University toward a $47 million
performing arts center and $1.5 million to endow a student marching
and concert band.
said he and his wife were drawn to the performing arts center project
for many of the same reasons they got involved in the expansion
of the University’s football stadium more than six years ago.
“After the stadium was enlarged, thousands of people -- many
of them from the community -- who seldom see a U.Va. football game
were able to enjoy the sport in one of the most beautiful college
venues in the country,” said Smith, a 1951 graduate of the
University’s College of Arts & Sciences. “We see
the performing arts center as a place so visible and so accessible
that, like the stadium, it will be a bridge to the community.”
Smiths envision the center as the cornerstone of the Arts Grounds,
a planned ensemble of new and expanded facilities for the University’s
arts programs. Completion of the new building will also be a major
step toward fulfilling the University’s aspirations to enhance
the study and performance of the arts at U.Va. and to build on an
increasingly vibrant music department. “It is our intent that
the University will have one of the finest performing arts facilities
in the country,” Smith said.
gifts have special significance to University President John T.
Casteen III, who in 1998 launched an initiative to make the arts
one of the University’s recognized strengths. He said the
performing arts center will be the linchpin in that initiative.
“Hunter and Carl Smith continue to amaze and surprise us,”
he said in announcing the gifts. “They always have been thoughtful
in assessing the University’s needs and its long-term aspirations,
and looking to see where they can best help us realize our goals.
Their extraordinary generosity will leave an indelible mark on University
life for generations to come.”
is the Smiths’ hope that the performing arts center also will
help recruit top student scholars in the arts and will create new
opportunities and visibility for the music and drama departments.
“The implications of the center on music programs at the University
are significant,” Mrs. Smith said. “It creates new opportunities
for students and new visibility for the department.”
Hudson, chair of the music department, speaks with enthusiasm about
what the new center will do for both the faculty and students in
her department. “It will have an impact at just about every
level,” she said, “and it should prove to be an outstanding
recruiting tool. But more than that, it says that music is important
at the University of Virginia.”
idea for a performing arts center began to take shape several years
ago during the University’s long-term planning process known
as Virginia 2020. The goals emerging from the planning effort called
for ensuring that the arts hold a prominent place in the student
experience, for expanding the cultural resources of the community
and for creating an environment in which the arts can thrive.
100,000-square-foot center will be built on the corner of Massie
Road and Emmet Street near University Hall and the site of a new
basketball arena/special events center, scheduled for completion
in 2006. The location affords ready access to parking, and it will
be linked via the new Groundswalk, currently under construction,
to other facilities on the Arts Grounds and to Central Grounds.
The building will house a concert hall of at least 1,200 seats;
instructional and performance spaces, including a “black box”
theater; rehearsal, storage and office space for the marching and
concert band; music department offices and performance management
construction is expected to begin by Dec. 31, 2004, the design phase,
including selection of the architect, will proceed within the next
of the marching and concert band, a joint venture between the music
and athletics departments, has a more ambitious time line, with
plans for the band to have its football debut in the fall of 2004.
make that a reality, Hudson intends to add an experienced band director
to the performance faculty as soon as possible. The director’s
first job will be to field a band of some 200 strong.
fall, even before discussions of a gift from the Smith family, music
department faculty expressed support for the establishment of a
band as a means of enhancing performance opportunities for students
and attracting talented musicians to the University.
University is the only school in the Atlantic Coast Conference that
does not have a marching band. Hudson has sought guidance of her
counterparts at Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina
and the University of Maryland, some of whom believe that U.Va.
has the potential to become one of the top bands in the country
within five to 10 years.
Smith, both a patron of the arts and a loyal football fan, said,
“A marching band will be a great addition to the game-day
experience at U.Va. It’s going to be very exciting.”
K. Littlepage, director of athletics, also called the band a wonderful
addition. “The introduction of a first-class marching and
concert band goes hand-in-hand with the department’s goal
to be top ranked in all of its programs.”
the years, the Smiths have supported University endeavors in architecture,
law, medicine, business, the Children’s Medical Center, the
Jefferson Scholars program and athletics.
1997, they pledged $25 million, then the largest single monetary
gift in the University’s history, toward the expansion of
Scott Stadium and for construction of a football stadium at the
University’s College at Wise in Southwest Virginia. The area
encompassing Scott Stadium was later named the Carl Smith Center
in honor of Smith, a former scholarship football player for Virginia.
founder of AMVEST Corp., an international company specializing in
coal mining, natural gas production and finance, Smith is making
these gifts through a combination of personal pledges and commitments
from the Carl W. Smith donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation
Serving Richmond & Central Virginia.
Carol Wood, (434) 924-1400