San Diego State’s Musical Theatre program received a $2.4 million donation from professors emeriti, Carey Wall and Terry O’Donnell, last week. The two joined forces to make the contribution in order to help the program continue to grow.
The musical theatre program at SDSU is one of two programs in the country offering master’s degrees in fine arts.
Students in the two-year program are required to complete 60 units of studies upon graduating. Graduate students of the musical theater program are trained as they prepare for careers as performers, directors, music directors, choreographers and educators. The program celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. This gift will ensure the MFA program at SDSU continues to offer its students prestigious professors. One way it will ensure this is by creating a new faculty position with the donation.
“The person who teaches will be a music of arts professor in the program,” College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts dean Joyce Gattas said.
Gattas explained the donation, will directly be used to fully fund the faculty position and that no state money will be involved. The program guarantees this position for the future, even with state budget cuts, as the position will be paid with external funds donated by the professors.
“Without the support of our faculty, this would never have happened,” Gattas said.
Gattas said it is important for students to realize two professors came together to donate a significant amount of money, in order to guide musical students in their future endeavors. She said the program is valued by professors and such a gift only proves the faculty cares.
Gattas believes students are benefitting the most from the donation because they are able to continue the program, learning from top faculty members until graduating with a master’s degree.