Findlay residents Thomas and Kathleen Donnell have announced a $750,000 gift to support the Wolfe Center for the Arts.
Their gift will provide for the main theater within the planned arts center on campus. In addition to the theater, the new facility will contain classrooms and production and studio spaces to link students and faculty in the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film and the College of Musical Arts.
The arts center project, which is part of Building Dreams: The Centennial Campaign for BGSU, was initiated when the state awarded BGSU $8.7 million in capital funding to build a state-of-the-art arts complex. The University is raising additional funds to complete the facility.
“Tom and Kate Donnell are valued members of the Bowling Green State University family,” said President Sidney Ribeau. “For many years they have supported the University; their gift to the Wolfe Center for the Arts is another indication of their commitment to the arts and to northwest Ohio.”
Their relationship with BGSU started when Donnell pursued an MBA from the University in the early 1970s. For more than 30 years, the Donnells have maintained ties with BGSU through their interests in education, the arts, athletics and international experiences. He is a past director of the BGSU Foundation Board and played a key role as a member of the campaign task force that helped determine the need for the current fund-raising campaign. The couple are members of the BGSU Presidents Club and supporters of various University initiatives, including the Arts Campaign and the creation of the present Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
“We are delighted that Tom and Kate are supporting this important initiative,” said Dr. Donald Nieman, dean of BGSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Their gift will help ensure that BGSU theatre and music students can learn and perform in a facility that inspires them and allows them to fulfill their creative potential.”
“We are pleased to be a part of this project,” said Thomas Donnell. “We enjoy the arts and have a passion for supporting the arts and Bowling Green State University.
“Additionally, our friends Fritz and Mary Wolfe’s involvement in the arts center lent a lot of credence to the project for us,” he added.
Donnell, who is chairman emeritus of Fifth Third Bank, Northwestern Ohio, began his career with Fifth Third Bank (formerly First National Bank of Findlay) in 1974. He rose through the ranks, serving in various capacities throughout his career. In 1989, he was named chairman and CEO of Fifth Third Bank of Northwestern Ohio, and he was elected to the board of Fifth Third Bank of Toledo. He retired in December 2003.
In addition to his professional work, Donnell has been active in the Findlay and Hancock County community. He is a member and past chair of the finance and investment committee of the Community Foundation of Findlay-Hancock County and was co-chair of the steering committee that established the foundation in 1992. He also serves as a corporate adviser to the Arts Partnership of Greater Hancock County and is secretary/treasurer of the Donnell Foundation. Previously he was a trustee of the University of Findlay and the Toledo Museum of Art.
The Wolfe Center for the Arts will serve as home to BGSU’s nationally recognized Department of Theatre and Film. Additionally, the building will support teaching and creation of collaborative art in the areas of digital art and animation, musical theater and opera, and performance art and electronic composition. The arts center will embody a sense of energy and creativity for all arts and emphasize the importance of embracing the arts in student development.
BGSU’s Building Dreams Campaign has raised more than $110.8 million to date. The $120 million campaign runs through December 2008.