Mount Allison announces name of new Centre for the Arts at sod-turning ceremony

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Due to the inclement weather, Mount Allison University announced the official name of its new centre for the arts during an improvised indoor sod-turning ceremony on Friday, Oct. 12. Construction on the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts began in August. Pictured from left are Gloria Jollymore, vice-president, university advancement; Glen Nichols, director of drama; Suzanne Crawford, chair of the board of regents, Thaddeus Holownia, head of the fine arts department; and Mount A president Robert Campbell.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell announced the official name of the University’s new centre for the arts during a sod-turning ceremony toady (Oct. 12) to celebrate the beginning of construction on the building.

The 50,000-square-foot centre, which will be home to the fine arts and drama programs, will be known as the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, in honour of Mount Allison’s fifth chancellor.

“Purdy Crawford has been one of Mount Allison’s most prominent success stories for decades,” Campbell says. “His long-time commitment to the university and his dedication to its continual improvement have been exemplary, inspirational, and consequential. We are very proud and pleased to have his distinguished name associated with this exciting new project.”

Crawford graduated from Mount Allison with a bachelor of arts degree in 1952. He went on to complete a law degree at Dalhousie University, and a Master of Laws at Harvard Law School. He has built one of the most respected resumés in Canadian business, first as a lawyer, then as a businessman.

Through it all, he has remained connected to his almamater, serving on the board of regents and as honorary co-chair of the $96-million JUMP fundraising campaign, in addition to his five years as chancellor from 1995 to 2000.

“I am thrilled to see construction on the centre for the arts go ahead, and so proud that my family is part of it in such a special way,” says board of regents chair Suzanne Crawford, Purdy Crawford’s daughter. “My father has always deeply believed in investing in the next generation and he is honoured to have his name associated with this new academic building, where future generations of students will be able to learn their craft in the best possible environment.”

Construction on the $30-million Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts began in August 2012. The Centre – Mount Allison’s first new academic building in more than three decades – is scheduled to open in September 2014.

Featuring a large atrium that will provide area for exhibitions and receptions as well as a gathering space for students, the centre will be home to contemporary art studios with facilities for painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and other media; a studio hall with reinforced floors, heightened ceilings, and controlled lighting; and a 100-seat black box theatre with cutting-edge sound and lighting.

The centre is being built without any government or borrowed funding, with $20 million of the total cost coming from private donors.

Organizations: Purdy Crawford Centre, Mount Allison University, Dalhousie University

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