McAlester philanthropist donates $8 million to school

Thursday, August 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An $8 million donation by a McAlester banker and philanthropist will underwrite a new music center that will nearly double the size of the Oklahoma City University School of Music.

Wanda Bass said she looks at her gift ``not so much as a donation, but as an investment.''

``This is an investment in the future of the School of Music and of Oklahoma City University,'' Bass, chairman of the board of directors of First National Bank & Trust Co. of McAlester, said Thursday. ``It's also an investment in the future of Oklahoma City and in the promise of a new century of American musicians, educators and citizens.''

The $16 million building will be known as the Wanda L. Bass Music Center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the fall, with completion planned for 2004.

``We already have world-class music students and world-class faculty,'' university President Tom J. McDaniel said. ``We are indebted to Wanda Bass for helping us build a music center of the same quality.''

Earlier this year, Bass gave the music school 105 Steinway pianos, worth $2.1 million. It was the largest single order in the 149-year history of Steinway & Sons.

Twenty-four of the pianos have been delivered. The rest will be delivered to the new music center.

Bass is a longtime patron of the arts in Oklahoma. She received the Governor's Art Award in 1994 and was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1998.