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Weills donate $1 million matching gift to Green Music Center

  • Robert Worth, choral director, leads the Sonoma Bach Choir prior to their performance at Weill Hall in the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Saturday, December 15, 2012. ((Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat))

The Green Music Center at Sonoma State University inched closer to completion Wednesday with the announcement of a $1 million matching gift by Joan and Sandy Weill for the completion of Schroeder Hall.

The Weills, who donated $12 million in 2011 to complete the center's $120 million Weill Hall, pledged an additional $1 million this week to help finish an intimate, 250-seat recital hall at the music center.

The gift is contingent upon the university's procurement of an additional $2 million by Sept. 1. If the $3 million is raised, the 3,420-square-foot hall will open for the 2014-15 academic year.

"Completing Schroeder Hall will truly bring the GMC full circle and will be an enormous addition to the university community," SSU President Ruben Armiñana said.

With funding already in place for a MasterCard outdoor pavilion to be built at the complex, the final push to complete Schroeder Hall will mark the end of the university's 16-year fundraising drive.

The recital hall, which is connected to the Green Center's educational wing, will be used for student recitals as well as classes, lectures and other student meetings. It increases the instructional capacity of the liberal arts college by 547 students.

"An investment in Schroeder Hall has a direct result on education at Sonoma State University," said Sandy Weill, chairman of the Green Center board of advisors and an investor in the local group that owns The Press Democrat.

Schroeder Hall was named by philanthropist Jean Schulz, widow of Charles M. Schulz and a major donor to the Green Center, in recognition of her late husband's piano-playing "Peanuts" cartoon character.

The shell of the recital hall has stood at the southwest portion of the complex since 2008. The additional $3 million is needed to complete the interior, including seating, lights, stage and backstage areas.

It closely fits the initial vision held by philanthropists Don and Maureen Green when they first donated $10 million in 1996-1997 to the university to construct a choral hall.

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