Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson have given back to somewhere that holds a special place in their hearts.
The married couple donated $5 million toward the renovation of Spelman College’s John D. Rockefeller Fine Arts building, the historically Black college’s largest alumnae donation in its history, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Others joined the two in supporting the arts building. According to the outlet, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, their friends, donated $10 million, the Bank of America donated $2 million and descendants of John D. Rockefeller donated $300,000. The contributions totaled to $17.3 million, which will help to keep the historic Spelman arts alive for the next generations of students to come.
“Renovation talk has been going on since I arrived at Spelman over seven and a half years ago,” said chair of the Theater and Performance Department Aku Kadogo. “You don’t really believe it until you see it, so I’m excited that this is happening.”
The building’s theater, stage, dressing rooms and bathrooms will be updated to better accommodate students and performance attendees, and the lobby will be expanded. An elevator is also set to be installed to ensure access for people with disabilities.
“Richardson Jackson expressed an interest in seeing the Baldwin Burroughs Theater in the Rockefeller building improved,” said Spelman’s director of facilities management and services Arthur E. Frazier III. “One of the initial conversations I had with her happened to be on her 40th wedding anniversary. She shared that she and Sam met for the second time in that building. It has a special place in their hearts.”
New Theater Name
With Jackson and Richardson Jackson taking action toward the college’s decades long renovation plans, Spelman is set to honor them once the renovations are complete by Menefee Architecture. The theater, lobby, and dressing rooms will be renamed the LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson Performing Arts Center.
Renovation Start Date
Construction for the faculty and students’ new home will start in the spring of 2022.