$1.1 Million Gift from Local Business Leader for Arts Building

August 11, 2013

Paul -lingle -1200Paul and Pat Lingle and the Lingle Family Foundation have pledged $1.1 million to Earlham College to support the College’s new Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. With this gift, the College will name a recital and rehearsal hall in the building the Lingle Music Hall.

President David Dawson announced the gift during a campus event on Sunday, August 11, 2013, which celebrated artistic collaboration in the Richmond community. As part of the program, which was attended by about 100 people, visitors enjoyed an art exhibit in the College’s Leeds Gallery featuring works by two local artists who teach at IU East. The two institutions have collaborated on several art exhibits and poetry readings recently. Dawson says that Lingle’s support underscores the importance of the connections between the College and the surrounding community.

“This extremely generous gift says to us that one of the area's most community-conscious philanthropists recognizes and supports the contributions that Earlham makes to the quality of life for Richmond and Wayne County residents. But the gift also says to those who come to Earlham from all over the world, that Richmond and Wayne County welcome them to this place in Indiana, and that leading community members want to offer something important to them,” notes Dawson. “It is unusual for a college to receive such a generous gift from donors who are not themselves alumni, and, in our case, such a gift is a very powerful testimony to how Richmond and Wayne County community leaders regard Earlham’s significance in the life of our wider community.”

Local Support For Earlham’s Future

Lingle — who is president of three local companies: Lingle Real Estate, Meadow Park, Inc. and Bayberry Development Group — says the decision to support Earlham was an easy one.

“I am really impressed with the direction in which Earlham is headed,” says Lingle. “With the extraordinary investment that the College is making in new facilities — from the football and baseball stadiums, to the science building and, of course, the visual and performing arts building — Earlham is saying it is going to be a player in higher education.

“Our foundation has focused its philanthropy in three areas: health care, education and the arts. This gift will contribute to two of these areas, and will help Earlham to continue to be a positive presence in our community,” he adds.

Lingle has previously been a lead gift donor to many local institutions including Reid Hospital, Indiana University East, Wernle Children’s Home, Richmond Symphony Orchestra and others. He believes that Earlham makes essential contributions to the Richmond and the Wayne County community.

“Earlham provides a cultural and intellectual base in this community,” says Lingle. “I have been fortunate to know many Earlham students, faculty and administrators, and I admire what they offer to our community. I value diversity and appreciate people who can think for themselves. I think what the College brings is enriching and challenging.”

A Richmond native, Lingle earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Wittenburg University and a master’s degree in industrial relations from West Virginia University. He has received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Indiana University, and he has received numerous awards for his community leadership, including a Wayne County Vision Award, an NAACP Community Service Award and a Distinguished Citizen Award from the Indiana Association of Realtors. He is also a current or former board member of numerous local organizations.

Gift Strengthens Earlham’s Arts Programs

In his remarks on Sunday afternoon, Dawson noted the importance of the gift to the arts programs at Earlham.

“A high percentage of Earlham students take classes in the arts, and a strong arts program is critical for the future health of the College,” says Dawson.  “We expect that this new facility to add to the College's appeal to prospective students. As a building, the new Center will, above all, be a center — because for the first time, our various arts programs will be drawn together into a common space that makes possible the creative synergies that foster creative collaboration and cutting-edge innovation in many disciplines. The new Center also promises to be a focal point for campus life and energy. Traditionally, campus arts buildings attract widespread student interest, in part because of all their fascinating sights and sounds, and Earlham’s new Center uses its open, transparent architecture to reveal to the public the exciting things happening inside.”

This $1.1 million gift was one of several significant donations to support the construction of the $20 million arts facility. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, the building will include Lingle Music Hall, with moveable seating for up to 270, a small “black box” theatre that will serve as a laboratory for all aspects of the theatre arts, and studios, rehearsal rooms and classrooms for visual arts and music. Several other spaces in the building have been named by donors who will be appropriately recognized at a later date.

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