This Friday the University of Missouri announced a $10 million donation from Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield for a renovation of the Fine Arts Building and construction of a new School of Music. This is the largest donation the university has ever received in support of fine arts. The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $74 million.
The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Michael O’Brien said this project has been in the works since 1988.
“I can remember in 1988 when it was sort of a glint in somebody’s eye and there were some sketches drawn up,” said O’Brien.
He said there are double the number of art, theater and music faculty in the building compared to when it was first built in 1960. That, with an increase of 10,000 new students in the past 10 years led to the need of the renovation and the new music building.
“The facilities are outdated, they’re cramped, they’re horrible. It’s worse than anything I’ve ever seen, so this will allow all three departments to flourish. They’re great departments now, they’ll get even better.” O’Brien said.
Currently, the MU School of Music is spread out between five different buildings on campus. Jeanne Sinquefield said housing the program under one roof will help the school become a leader in music performance and education.
This is not the first donation the Sinquefields have made to the fine arts department at the university. Jeanne Sinquefield said she has been working for 10 years to make Missouri a mecca for music composition. In the past the Sinquefields have started camps for young musicians, funded scholarships for undergraduate composers and created an international composer festival.
Sinquefield said her family chooses to fund these programs through the University of Missouri because they allow her to try fun ideas.
“I can do things here that other universities wouldn’t let an outsider do,” Sinquefield said.
In total, the Sinquefield’s have given more than $13 million to the university. Sinquefield said she supports the fine arts because of her love of music.
“The joy of life is music. I don’t think you can go a day without hearing music, on the radio, on the television, your friends playing. Can you imagine a life without music? And do you want that music always to be what was written before you were born? No,” said Sinquefield.
The project is currently still in the fundraising stage. O’Brien said that this donation helped solidify the project and will hopefully encourage more donations.
The following video was provided by the MU News Bureau and explains Fine Arts Building renovation and School of Music project: