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June 22, 1995

Special matching funds program results in $1.1 million for UPB fine

arts challenge

Pitt's Bradford campus (UPB) has received $1.1 million in gifts through a special matching funds program established by a local family in support of the campus's proposed fine arts building.

The Blaisdell family also has committed to matching new gifts for the proposed center from now until Dec. 31, according to Karen Niemic-Buchheit, UPB director of development.

During the advance gifts phase of the Fine Arts Challenge campaign, which ran January-May, UPB raised $550,000 in funds, including $250,000 each from the Robert Bromeley family and KOA Speer Electronics, Inc., that were matched by the Blaisdell family. The $1.1 million so far collected represents 55 percent of the drive's $2 million goal.

"The $1.1 million gives us a great jump start," said Niemic-Buchheit. "Now, we must move on to the most important phase of this campaign, the public phase. At this time, we look to all the communities in this region and ask our friends and corporate supporters to help us bring the fine arts home." Funds raised during the Blaisdell Fine Arts Challenge will be used to both establish an endowment for faculty and programming and to help finance the construction of a fine arts center.

According to UPB's physical master plan, the fine arts center will be 60,000-65,000 square feet in size and is expected to cost approximately $12 million. It will include a main stage and smaller stages, classrooms and an advanced technology wing for video work.

"Strong private and regional support will provide Pitt-Bradford with the leverage it needs to secure [additional] funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the construction of the building," said UPB President Richard McDowell. "We believe the Blaisdell Fine Arts Challenge will give the state additional incentive to fund the fine arts center." The Blaisdell Fine Arts Challenge is one of the most significant gifts ever given to UPB and the first time ever the campus has undertaken a challenge program. Sisters Harriet Wick and Sarah Dorn, co-owners of Zippo Manufacturing Co., head the Blaisdell family and established the challenge. The family also includes Barbara Kearney, D. Blaise Wick, George Duke and Paul Duke III.

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