Alumna gives back to alma mater with $3 million gift

By Rachel Stengel

Rider announced a $3 million contribution from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation of Pittsburgh, Pa. on Tuesday, through a press release distributed to the university.

The monetary gift will support the construction of a new academic and performance building on Westminster’s campus, which will cost $7.5 million.

President Mordechai Rozanski said in the press release that Rider is grateful for the donation that will aid in the creation of the new building.

“The construction of the new building will greatly enhance the Westminster Choir College campus by providing significantly better teaching, learning and performance spaces for our students and faculty,” Rozanski said.

From left, Robert Annis, dean of Westminster, Henry L. Hillman, Elsie Hillman and President Mordechai Rozanski with a rendering of the Hillman Performing Arts Center. Rozanski with a rendering of the Hillman Performing Arts Center on Monday in New York City.

The performance section of the new building will be named The Hillman Performing Arts Center in honor of Westminster alumna Elsie Hillman. The Hillman Performing Arts Center will be part of the Marion Buckelew Cullen Hall. The performance section of the building will have a 3,000 square foot rehearsal and performance space, a spacious lobby, a green room and other amenities. The academic portion will include three classrooms for both academic and choral use, according to the release.

Robert L. Annis, dean and director of Westminster, said in the release that he was thankful for Hillman’s contribution as a Westminster alumna.

“We are grateful to Elsie and Henry Hillman for their vision and continued support of Westminster and its programs,” Annis said. “This is especially meaningful since Elsie Hillman is a member of the Talbott family, which helped found and nurture Westminster Choir College.”

To date, the project has raised $4.2 million of the $7.5 million needed for the building’s completion. The university will present the project to the Regional Planning Board for municipal review and is optimistic that the process and continued fundraising will be successful.

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