Tulsa Foundation Gives TU $40 Million

Wednesday, May 20th 2009, 10:06 am
By: News On 6


TULSA, OK -- George Kaiser Family Foundation has given the University of Tulsa a multi-year commitment of $40.2 million.

The commitment includes a bridge loan that will allow TU to begin construction of its new performance center this fall.

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According to a TU news release, the largest portion of the financial support comes in the form of a low-interest loan to provide crucial bridge funding for constructing the Roxana Rozsa and Robert Eugene Lorton Performance Center.

The university has substantially completed fundraising for the center, but many of those gifts will be paid over the coming years.

The $24 million in bridge funding from the Kaiser Foundation will cover construction costs during the pledge fulfillment period. The low-interest loan is expected to provide TU with about $2.7 million in interest savings when compared to current bond market prices. TU will begin reimbursing the foundation in 2011.

"The University of Tulsa has benefitted many times and in many ways from the generosity of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, but this gift will hold a special place in the Kaiser legacy," said TU President Steadman Upham. "It fast-tracks construction of the largest, most ambitious facility in TU history, and it does so with a creative response to the snarled bond markets that are stalling so many other organizations. By moving forward now, we can not only open the center to the community sooner, but we also can pay today's construction costs instead of tomorrow's. It is fitting that this gift combines George Kaiser's philanthropic drive and his entrepreneurial outlook."

In addition to the bridge funding, the Kaiser Foundation has also committed a $13.5 million gift for several other programs at TU:

  • The National Energy Policy Institute, established at TU earlier this spring;
  • A Student Volunteer Center on campus;
  • Improvements on campus and in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood; 
  • Faculty support for the College of Law;
  • The Immigrant Rights Project at the College of Law; 
  • The newly re-established local news bureau at KWGS, FM 89.5;
  • A new non-profit management program in the Collins College of Business; 
  •  And general support for the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge, Film Studies program, and the James Joyce Quarterly.
  • The foundation also has provided $4 million for operations and endowed positions at Gilcrease Museum, which is operated by TU under a management agreement with the City of Tulsa.
  • The Roxana Rozsa and Robert Eugene Lorton Performance Center will feature: 
    700-seat concert theatre with balcony;
  • Full performance stage with ballet floor, scenery fly and trap room; a hydraulic orchestra pit, theatrical lighting and sound booths; 
  • A 6,000 sq. ft. grand hall dually designed for art display and for receptions and seated dinners of up to 300;
  • Faculty offices to accommodate up to two grand pianos each; 
    Specialized rehearsal and practice rooms that will accommodate all music groups; 
  • Classrooms, teaching studios and faculty offices;
  • Electronic piano lab;
  • Film production suite with post-production editing and scoring capabilities; 
  • Two recital halls, including one with fixed seating for 100 and another with flexible seating to accommodate groups of various sizes;
  • Dressing suite complete with a green room and VIP lounge, shower and laundry facilities;
  • And outdoor colonnade with two-story Gothic arches overlooking a front lawn facing Harvard Avenue.