in Detroit has announced a $7.5 million commitment from Gretchen Valade in support of programming, teaching, and scholarship in jazz performance and education.
The gift includes $5 million to renovate the university's Hilberry Theatre into a two hundred-seat jazz performance venue, to be renamed the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. The project represents the final phase of the Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex, a nearly $50 million initiative designed to strengthen Wayne State's cultural presence in Midtown. The center also will host university events, serve as an educational hub for students and faculty, and play a role in programming for the , of which Wayne State is the official educational partner.
The gift also will create two endowed funds — the $1.5 million Gretchen Valade Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies will provide support for teaching and research to a distinguished jazz musician and educator on the faculty, while the $1 million Gretchen Valade Endowed Scholarship in Jazz Studies will provide scholarships for students working and performing in the Valade Center and pursuing degrees in jazz studies.
"The Gretchen Valade Jazz Center will build on and celebrate the rich tradition of Detroit jazz," said Matthew Seeger, dean of the . "This gift also includes a ten-year affiliation agreement between the Detroit Jazz Festival and Wayne State University. This is a case of two great cultural institutions collaborating to ensure jazz performance and jazz education will be part of Detroit for decades to come."
"My love of jazz music and of this great city have inspired and motivated me my entire life," said Valade, founder of Mack Avenue Records and board chair of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. "I can't imagine a more meaningful way to combine those passions than by supporting jazz education at Wayne State University, an institution that is so critical to Detroit and its future. Wayne State, in many ways, is the cultural epicenter of this city."