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$7.5M Gift Secures Wayne State for World-Class Jazz Complex

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Because of a $7.5-million gift from Detroit Jazz Music Festival Foundation Chair and philanthropist Gretchen Valade, Wayne State University's Hilberry Theatre will be converted into a music space and a full-fledged jazz complex with a capacity of 400. Detroit Free Press reported that the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center will occupy the University's Hilberry Gateway complex. University President M. Roy Wilson told the Detroit Free Press that Valade's gift is the biggest arts donation ever given in Wayne State history. With her donation, Valade will establish a $1.5-million endowed chair in jazz studies and a $1 million endowed jazz scholarship. A fundraising campaign with a goal of $50 million is still ongoing. No estimated date for the renovation's completion has been released yet.

The property was built in c. 1921 as a church for The Christian Scientists of Detroit. In 1961, Wayne State University bought the building and remodeled it to house a graduate repertory company. The property didn't reopen with the new name, which is based after the school's fourth president, until four years after the purchase. Detroit Free Press reported that there are plans to construct a modernized Hilberry Theatre down the block on a site that is a parking lot.
· Hilberry Theatre [Emporis]
· 'World-class' $7.5-million jazz hub set for Wayne State [Detroit Free Press]