The new theater will match the quality of the school’s theater program and also make it a better teaching theater, Cady said.
“Our theater program is extraordinary,” she said. “Every year, they win national awards at the Kennedy Center.”
Another donation from campaign co-chair Kim Gassett-Schiller is already being used to support health and wellness programs, known as “Wellness U.”
The programs are based inside the Gassett center where officials announced the drive; the center is named after Gassett-Schiller’s late parents.
Funds will also be used to support students who otherwise might be unable to afford school, Cady said, and to bring in more faculty, support professional development, offer new research opportunities and “really make it an attractive place for faculty to come.”
University President Patricia Meservey said that while the school has been busy with physical improvements and upgrades, “it’s crucial to nurture the soul of the overall student experience. ... As we continue to transform our campus physically, it is important to stay focused on the programming, support and services that take place within our walls.”
University officials said they hope the historic campaign will reinforce the school’s importance to people in surrounding communities.
“I think it’s really serving to highlight what Salem State University does, and the fact that public higher education is just so critical,” Cady said.
“I hope the entire North Shore will see and appreciate the importance of public higher education and how Salem State supports workforce development and the quality of life for those of us in this region,” said Rob Lutts, chairman of the Salem State Foundation. “Strengthening the university ... means strengthening our entire community.”
Neil H. Dempsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.