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Advancement News

Alumni Pledge to Fund Performing Arts Library

Posted Jan. 6, 2009

Kent State alumni Carlton and Victoria Thornbury, and their son, Alex, have committed to make the lead gift in support of the creation of a Performing Arts Library at the university.

The gift will fund a planned space in the under-construction Roe Green Center for the Performing Arts that will integrate theatre, dance and music collections, including books, videos, scores and sound recordings. Students will have access to state-of-the-art listening and viewing equipment to analyze performances while enhancing their understanding of various art forms. Facilities for collaborative study and research will also be available.

The family's gift also gives the library increased storage for its collections, an area that is typically underfunded.

"This generous gift from the Thornbury family will enable the Performing Arts Library to reach out not only to students in music, but also to students in theatre and dance," says Mark Weber, dean of libraries and media services. "It couldn’t come at a better time."

Victoria, who received her master's degree in library science from Kent State in 1974, began her career as a reference librarian in the Akron-Summit County Public Library system, later becoming the head of the Firestone branch. Before retirement, she was the librarian for the Charlotte Latin School in North Carolina. Carlton, who received his master's degree in accounting from the Kent State College of Business Administration in 1975, had a career in banking before retiring from what is now Bank of America. The couple lives in Charlotte.

All three Thornburys share a passion for the performing arts, including theatre and classical music. While son Alex, of Blacksburg, Va., works in information technology, he is also a pianist.

"Our goal is to ensure the future of performing arts majors at Kent State," Victoria Thornbury says. "To provide artists the resources they need so that this heritage of great music and performance can continue."

The Thornburys are the second and third generations of their family to leave a legacy at Kent State. Victoria's parents, Dr. Gerald Read and Victoria Read, were longtime Kent residents and university supporters who provided gifts for scholarships in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the College of Nursing. The Reads' final gift to the university funded a major expansion of the University Library's Department of Special Collections and Archives, as well as the first endowed graduate assistantship in the department.

Dr. Read was a graduate of Kent State and a professor of comparative education at the university for 33 years before his retirement in 1976; he passed away in 2005. Mrs. Read passed away in 2006.

To learn more about the new Roe Green Center for Performing Arts, which will house the library, visit the Web site for the College of the Arts.