Outlook: Ohio University News & Information

University receives $13.3 million gift

Alumna?s donation will be used to establish an arts education program
Jan 11, 2010
By Colleen Kiphart

President Roderick J. McDavis announced a private gift to benefit arts education during a press conference earlier today.

Violet L. Patton, a 1938 alumna, has given $13.3 million to Ohio University for the establishment of a new Arts Education Center.

"What an incredible gift Miss Patton has given to Ohio University and to the future of arts education here," President Roderick McDavis said. "Her gift will touch students, faculty and, in fact, each of us who benefit from the learning and creativity that arts education fosters."

The center will be named the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education, pending approval by the Ohio University Board of Trustees during their meeting Friday.

Howard Lipman, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio University Foundation, said, "Today ? more than 70 years after her commencement from Ohio University ? we?re gathered to celebrate Miss Patton?s commitment to education, her passion for the arts, and her loyalty to Alma Mater: loyalty that has manifested itself in a transformational contribution to our university."

"The Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education will nurture arts and entrepreneurship for the creation of social change and community development," Charles McWeeny, dean for the College of Fine Arts, said.

He continued, "This generous gift will provide the funds to promote the values the arts teach to help elevate people educationally and economically, increase entrepreneurship and enrich the community."

The center will build on Ohio University?s reputation as an educational, cultural and financial boon to the southeastern Ohio region. The new center will help Appalachian children gain confidence and knowledge in the arts, increase the number and success of children attending post-secondary education, give OHIO students opportunities to work in the community through local public schools to improve arts education and create programs to "support the efforts of public school educators to integrate arts content into lessons."

"The Center will not only support art education, but other areas in the arts including theater, music and drama," Renée Middleton, dean of the College of Education, said. "The skills that students develop through arts education go well beyond the classroom, supporting not only educational development, but also personal and social development, which extends into communities and homes."

The Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education will create a community and university partnership. Ohio University students will participate in service-learning, professional internships and teaching fellow positions. Additionally, the K-12 Arts Program in McCracken Hall will grow to include more local schools and allow for more involvement with College of Education outreach.

Both art and education are lifelong passions for Patton, who comes from a family of educators. Both of her parents were very active teachers. She continued their legacy, transferring to Ohio University during her sophomore year to study education.

"Without question, Violet Patton is an artist and an educator," McDavis said. "This is what makes today?s announcement so meaningful."

Unable to attend today?s press conference, Patton issued a statement on her intent for the center.

"May the Violet L. Patton Arts Center bring renown to all who enter," she said. "And, may it be like the old man crossing a wide chasm over a river, building a bridge as he goes. When asked why build a bridge at this time of his life he replies, ?I build this bridge for those who follow and may not be as strong.?"

"Violet Patton has placed her remarkable legacy in Ohio University?s hands," McDavis said. "She has entrusted us to carry forward her commitment to education and to the arts through our stewardship of her remarkable gift. We are humbled by her generosity."


Published: Jan 11, 2010 2:00 PM

Violet L. Patton

Violet L. Patton

Photo courtesy of: Violet L. Patton 

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