UA receives $20 million for performing arts center

Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, News Editor

The family of Mark Smith, cofounder of ADTRAN, committed $20 million — the largest charitable donation in UA history — to the Performing Arts Academic Center.

The building will be named the Smith Family Center for the Performing Art pending approval by the board of trustees. 

Smith’s family — Cameron, Linda and Clay Smith — pushes the University’s Rising Tide fundraising campaign to over $1 billion. 

“We are grateful to the Smiths for what is not only an incredible legacy for their family but a lasting inheritance for our students, community and generations to come,” UA President Stuart Bell said. “This stunning new facility will further transform our campus, allow us to showcase our students’ exceptional talents and make UA a beacon for the performing arts.”

Clay Smith said music was important to his father.  

“To give back to the community in this way while honoring my dad’s memory is incredibly rewarding,” he said.

Clay Smith, who graduated from the Culverhouse College of Business, created an endowed scholarship in his father’s name in 2007. Linda and Clay Smith also donated $1 million to name the Mark C. Smith Boardroom in Hewson Hall. 

The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts will connect to the restored Bryce Main building and will house the Department of Theatre and Dance. The facility will include four performance theaters. 

“We are humbled and grateful for the generosity of the Smiths,” Joseph Messina, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “This gift will enable us to continue to offer a high-caliber performing arts education and showcase our talented students and faculty through a world-class facility.”

The center is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

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