in Spokane, Washington, has announced a $55 million gift from Myrtle Woldson in support of student scholarships and a performing arts center.
The largest gift in the history of the university includes $25 million to create an endowment fund that will provide scholarships for students with financial need from low- and middle-income families and $30 million to build the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center on campus. The 52,000-square-foot building will include a 750-seat performance theater named for Father Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., chancellor of Gonzaga, as well as areas dedicated to instruction in music, dance, and theater arts.
A Spokane resident, businessperson, and philanthropist with longstanding ties to the town and university and the daughter of a contractor who helped build the Great Northern Railway, Woldson passed away on April 11, 2014, at the age of 104. Local projects she supported include the at The Fox and , in honor of her parents.
"Miss Woldson decided that Gonzaga was worthy of her trust, because of who we are and where — with her support — we could go," said Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh. "She saw Gonzaga as something to believe in; an endeavor worthy of her support. While she herself did not attend Gonzaga, Miss Woldson always believed that this university's primary work was to open doors: creating opportunities for supporting bright men and women who could make positive and lasting contribution in the world. Just as she did."