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$20 million gift from Wilbur and Clare Dove to create performing and visual arts center
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$20 million gift from Wilbur and Clare Dove to create performing and visual arts center

The $20 million gift from alumnus Wilbur Dove, and his wife, Clare, was made in anticipation of the university’s sesquicentennial next year.

It is not the first gift from the couple. The couple donated funds that allowed for the construction of two of five apartment-style residence halls and created an endowed scholarship in the name of Wilbur’s roommate.

The proposed arts center will provide new resources and opportunities to students and faculty.

“There are few events that truly transform an institution and receiving a gift of this magnitude is one of them. It is especially meaningful because of the Doves’ long-time connection to Shenandoah. Clare and Wilbur Dove are the epitome of two people who appreciate the value of hard work and a good education, and they want to set an example of transformational giving for others in the Shenandoah University community to follow,” said university President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We are overwhelmed by their generosity and are so grateful for the trust they are placing in Shenandoah and in our vision for a future performing and visual arts center.”

Shenandoah University will begin its 150th year in January 2025.

“Shenandoah University provided me with a foundation that I’ve carried through my life – a foundation that I truly value,” said Wilbur Dove. “It is my honor to give back to the institution that has given so much to me, my family and the countless others who are fortunate enough to be associated with this university.

“This performing and visual arts building will transform the university and will allow Shenandoah and its conservatory to continue to provide the very best educational experience and opportunities to its students.”

Dove received his junior college degree in 1959 from what was then Shenandoah College and Conservatory. The institution, previously located in Dayton, moved to Winchester in 1960 and was renamed Shenandoah University in 1991.

Dove was a member of the final class to attend Shenandoah at its former Dayton location.

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