Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday announced that Hobart and William Smith Colleges will receive $1 million in Empire State Development Grant funds to help construct a 55,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center on its campus in Geneva.
Cuomo praised the members of the Regional Councils who have prioritized and recommended the projects for funding within their districts.
“These efforts have allowed the Regional Councils for the last three years to pursue economic development projects on the ground all across the state, from creating new technologies and supporting innovation to building hospitals and tourism destinations that will further our economic growth,” said Cuomo. “The Regional Councils were empowered to change the face of economic development in their communities and they have accomplished just that.”
“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for making the Performing Arts Center a priority of the State of New York,” said HWS President Mark D. Gearan, who attended the event in Albany. “I am also grateful to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and to its co-chairs, President of the University of Rochester Joel Seligman and CEO of Wegmans Food Markets Danny Wegman, for their important leadership. It is through their efforts that the new Performing Arts Center has been recognized as a vital component of the region’s economic future.”
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council recommended the Performing Arts Center as one of four transformational priority projects for funding in the category of tourism and arts. The committee — representing Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties — noted the Center will strengthen the region’s quality of life, draw more visitors to Finger Lakes cultural and recreational attractions, and expand local business activity.
“The Colleges are fortunate to have a number of valuable, local partners who have worked with us to make this Performing Arts Center a reality,” noted Gearan. “Through the advice and assistance of individuals like Senator Michael Nozzolio as well as the City of Geneva, Smith Center for the Arts, and the Geneva Business Improvement Development agency, we will break ground in 2014.”
Representing more than five years of planning, the Center is the Colleges’ highest capital priority. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, alumnae, parents, members of the HWS community, and now New York’s Empire State Development, $26 million has been committed toward the project, the largest of its kind in the Colleges’ history.
The Center’s plans have been designed by the acclaimed Cambridge, Mass.-based firm Gund Associates. The planned facility will include performance spaces, practice and rehearsal rooms, costume and scene shops, a film screening room, dressing rooms, a box office, control rooms and a small art gallery. The Center also will feature classrooms, faculty offices and a versatile foyer space that can be used for private and public gatherings.
Located on 195 acres in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes Region, Hobart and William Smith are independent liberal arts colleges distinctive for providing highly individualized educations. Guided by an interdisciplinary curriculum grounded in exploration and rigor, the Colleges prepare students to think critically. In partnership with the Geneva and global communities and through robust programs in career development, study-abroad, service, leadership and athletics, the Colleges foster an environment that values global citizenship, teamwork, ethics, inclusive excellence, and cultural competence.
Under the mentorship of faculty, Hobart and William Smith students gain the necessary clarity to be competitive when seeking employment. They win prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes, Gates Cambridge, Udall, Fulbright and Goldwater. They gain admittance to the best graduate programs in the country. They go on to lead lives of consequence.