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Texas State announces $8 million gift for performing arts center

By Mark Hendricks
University News Service
February 28, 2008

Patti Strickel Harrison

A gift of $8 million from the PSH Foundation of Wimberley to Texas State University-San Marcos will be used to support the construction of a new performing arts center on the university campus.

The gift was announced by Texas State President Denise M. Trauth Thursday morning (Feb. 28) at a news conference on campus.

The PSH Foundation is named for Patti Strickel Harrison and, in gratitude for the gift, the main theatre in the performing arts center will be named the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre.

Trauth said the center, to be built along University Drive on the Texas State campus immediately adjacent to downtown San Marcos, would serve as a “cultural gateway” between the university and the city.

“It will showcase our students and faculty, attract other talented students and faculty, and will continue building relations between the university and the citizens of San Marcos. The new performing arts center will make possible national and international production being brought to campus,” said Trauth.

Trauth called the gift “transformational” and said it will launch a drive toward the construction of the performing arts center.

Harrison said she believed the time was right for the PSH Foundation to make such a gift and added she hoped the action would be a model for others to follow.

“I’ve been trying to think of what to do for years, and it seemed to me that the timing was right. Timing is everything in this life. I’d like to think that this gift will get other people off the fence to help, too,” said Harrison.

Early plans call for the performing arts center to include a 400-seat main theatre and a 350-seat music recital hall. The total area of the building is expected to be approximately 43,600 square feet. It is planned that construction will begin in fall 2011, with completion in spring 2014.

Trauth said that performing arts symbolize the intellectual foundation of every great university.

“Performing arts programs not only educate aspiring artists and scholars, they also provide students and the community with an extraordinary cultural experience. Texas State University desperately needs an appropriate stage for its tremendously talented students and faculty,” she said.

Harrison attended Texas State in 1947 and 1948. She established the PSH Foundation in 2001 as a grant making entity supporting healthy, well-being, independence, public welfare and emotional stability in Texas communities to include, but not limited to, arts and cultural affairs, education, health services, human services, public/society benefit and religious organizations. As president of the PSH Foundation, she puts special emphasis on education, health and youth in Texas.

The gift from the PSH Foundation is the second-largest single donation to Texas State in the university’s history.