Sonoma State University Receives $12 Million Gift

Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, has announced a $12 million gift, the largest in its history, from former Citigroup chair Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill and his wife, Joan.

The gift, which includes a $4 million one-to-one challenge grant component, will support the completion of a concert hall and performance venues at the Green Music Center. Scheduled to open in time for the 2012-13 season, the 1,400-seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall is modeled after Seiji Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood, Massachusetts, and was designed by architect William Rawn, who worked closely with acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard. Once completed, the hall will include a back wall that can be fully opened onto a landscaped and terraced lawn, expanding its reach to an additional 3,000 guests. The grant also will be used to transform Weill Commons, an area directly east of the concert hall, into a 10,000-seat venue for large-scale outdoor events.

Weill, who has been chairman of Carnegie Hall since 1991, founded the National Academy Foundation, a network of high school career academies predominately based in urban districts, in 1982. For the past ten years, Joan Weill has served as board chair of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Foundation and is co-chair of the advisory committee of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall as well as co-chair of the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Women's Health Symposium. In 2009, the couple received the annual Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy award in recognition of their philanthropic efforts.

"For us, philanthropy is much more than just writing a check," the couple told a reporter from the school. "It is donating our time, energy, and knowledge to the causes we are passionate about. The Green Music Center could be a transformative project, not just for the campus but for the entire Northern California community, and we look forward with great anticipation to the exciting future of this world class destination."