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>  News Releases >   2008 >   February

Dartmouth receives $5 million gift for the arts

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 02/11/08 • Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts has been awarded $5 million from The Howard Gilman Foundation to endow the center's directorship, providing resources to support the director's position and venture funds for new Hopkins Center initiatives. The late Howard Gilman, a prominent New York arts benefactor whose family has made substantial gifts to the College, was a member of Dartmouth's Class of 1944. In honor of the gift, the Hopkins Center director will hold the title "Howard Gilman Director of the Hopkins Center."

Gilman group
From left to right: President James Wright, Natalie Moody, Chairman of The Howard Gilman Foundation, Jeffrey James, Director of the Hopkins Center, and Stephen Cropper, Treasurer of The Howard Gilman Foundation. (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The Hopkins Center, known as the Hop, is a vibrant institution with a dual mission to keep the arts central to the Dartmouth community and to provide the core educational environment for artistic study, creation, and presentation. It was hailed nationally as an innovation in campus arts programming when it opened in 1962, as was the building itself, created by Wallace Harrison, designer of Lincoln Center's Metropolitan Opera House.

"Howard Gilman was visionary in his support for the arts and for young artists," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "It's an honor to have Howard's named associated with pursuits so important to a liberal arts education. President Ernest Hopkins, the center's namesake, correctly called art essential to the human experience, and predicted the Hop would become the 'heart and soul' of campus. It has. The Howard Gilman Foundation's generosity ensures that it will remain so in the decades ahead."

Jeffrey James, the Hop's director since 2005, will be the inaugural  Howard Gilman  Director of the Hopkins Center. James is former executive director of the Cunningham Dance Foundation and has held leadership positions with the California Institute for the Arts, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the New York Philharmonic, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Each year the Hop stages more than 100 internationally diverse music, dance, and theater performances, in addition to 50 student instrumental, vocal, and dance ensembles and 200 film screenings. More than 25 percent of Dartmouth students participate in the Hop's jewelry, woodworking, and pottery workshops.

Howard Gilman majored in business at Dartmouth and was particularly interested in music, joining two music clubs. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and served in the Navy during World War II. He entered the family business, the Gilman Paper Company, eventually becoming president and chairman of the board. He loved photography (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which eventually received the Gilman Paper Company Collection, called him "one of the world's great collectors of photographs"), and was a benefactor to universities, a wide range of visual and performing arts institutions, and wildlife conservation. He served on the Hopkins Center Board of Overseers from 1977 to 1984. He died in 1998.

The Gilman family has made generous gifts to Dartmouth: to the annual fund and scholarships, the Gilman Faculty Loan Fund, Dartmouth Medical School, and the Gilman Biomedical Center Fund. The Howard Gilman Foundation made the lead gift to the Gilman Life Sciences Building and named the Claflin Jewelry Studio at the Hop in honor of Gilman's good friend Donald Claflin, regarded as one of the most talented jewelry designers of his time. The Hopkins Center gift was one of three major Howard Gilman Foundation legacy awards to mark the tenth anniversary of Gilman's death. Other recipients are the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Lincoln Center Film Society.

"Howard Gilman was a gracious and modest man, keenly sensitive to the welfare of others. He deeply loved the arts and always had a special attachment to Dartmouth," said Howard Gilman Foundation chairman Natalie Moody. "The trustees of The Howard Gilman Foundation are pleased that, with this gift, we are helping Dartmouth to continue advancing arts education and appreciation."    

The resources and name recognition bestowed by the Gilman gift will enable the Hop to pursue an ambitious agenda. It will continue its efforts to commission original works by major artists, such as Merce Cunningham's XOVER, which premiered on campus last October with music by John Cage and decor by Robert Rauschenberg. Cunningham spent a week in residence, lecturing and meeting with small groups of students and faculty. In addition, the Hop seeks to increase touring opportunities for its student ensembles. The Dartmouth Gospel Choir, for instance, performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest and in Switzerland and Italy, and the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble gave a standing-room-only concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Hop will also continue to seek opportunities to apply new technology to the performing arts.

"Arts education is at the core of a college arts center like the Hop," said director Jeffrey James, "whether it's intense instruction for our student artists, or the powerful influence that eclectic performances, exhibits, and elective courses can have on the wider Dartmouth community. For us, they are equally important in fostering appreciation for the arts, which are such an essential aspect of the human character. By creating this endowment fund, the Gilman Foundation makes the Hop directorship permanent, and gives it support to be permanently ambitious."

Dartmouth graduates in the arts include On the Waterfront screenwriter Budd Schulberg, Class of 1935; Saturday Night Live actress Rachel Dratch, Class of 1988; Grey's Anatomy producer Shonda Rhimes, Class of 1991; and scores of others. Many graduates have also become major benefactors of arts organizations.

Endowing the Hopkins Center directorship is a priority in the $1.3 billion Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, the largest fund-raising effort in Dartmouth history. The College is seeking investment in four initiatives: to advance leading-edge teaching and scholarship, enhance residential and campus life, more fully endow its financial aid program, and raise unrestricted dollars to fund the current student experience. The campaign is institution-wide, embracing its undergraduate programs and graduate programs in the arts and sciences and its three professional schools-Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Dartmouth Medical School-and advancing strategic goals campus-wide.

Dartmouth is a private, coeducational college and a member of the Ivy League. Founded in 1769, it is committed to outstanding undergraduate and graduate education while fostering cutting-edge scholarship among its faculty. Its small size fosters close student-faculty interaction, and its year-round schedule allows the majority of its 4,300 undergraduates to participate in international study and internships.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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