Arts + Culture

Benefit gala celebrating the reopening of UCLA’s Royce Hall raises $1.5 million

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Editor’s note: This story was originally published April 15, 1998.

The star-studded gala held April 4 to celebrate the reopening of UCLA’s world-renowned Royce Hall Auditorium raised more than $1.5 million for the arts at UCLA, making it one of the most successful benefit events for arts education in Los Angeles history.

The evening launched a major fundraising effort by the School of the Arts and Architecture as part of the campuswide Campaign UCLA. Including the gala proceeds, the School has raised $15 million to date toward its goal of $35 million.

Proceeds from the event will support students and programs in the school and its UCLA Center for the Performing Arts. The reopening signals the return to Royce Hall Auditorium of center programming that was displaced because of severe damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Funds will benefit current and future generations of artists and musicians and allow the center to continue to bring to Royce Hall the world’s finest performing artists.

“Royce Hall Encore, Celebrate the Return” was co-chaired by the school’s board member Mo Ostin, who heads the music division of DreamWorksSKG, and his wife Evelyn; and Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records and chairman of Rondor Music, and his wife, Ann, along with honorary chair, UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.

The evening paid tribute to four prominent members of the Southern California community who are long-time friends and supporters of UCLA: arts supporter and philanthropist Ginny Mancini; Lew Wasserman, chairman emeritus of Universal Studios Inc.; Harold Williams, former president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust; and legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

“The community’s generous participation in the gala reopening of Royce Hall marks an auspicious inauguration to raise funds to support our students and programs in the arts,” said Daniel Neuman, dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture. “It is appropriate that as our school concentrates its resources on educating future leaders in the arts, we take this special opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of these four significant leaders in our community. Their achievements are a testament to their dedication to excellence. We strive to empower our students to incorporate this dedication in their own lives.”

“By supporting the arts at UCLA we invest in the highest quality education for our young people and ensure a rich cultural legacy for our city and country,” said Mo Ostin. “The success of this campaign is based on a commitment to excellence, and we look forward to moving ahead in the coming years and providing the best possible environment for great futures in the arts.”

The “Encore” event featured actor/comedians Carol Burnett, John Lithgow and Paul Reiser; flutists James and Jeanne Galway, accompanied by Christopher O’Riley; plus Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Don Henley with an “all-star” band. Attending the black-tie gala were guests from the cultural, entertainment, sports, business and philanthropic communities including Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Marvin and Barbara Davis, Jack Valenti, Frank Biondi, Michael Warren, Jamaal Wilkes, Arnold Palmer, Bernard and Lenore Greenberg, Mickey Rudin, Jane Curtin, Sidney Poitier, Jackie Collins, Joel Grey, Bob and Rose-Marie Stack, and Jonathan Silverman.

Built in 1929 as one of the first four campus structures, Royce Hall — with its distinctive Lombard Romanesque towers and elegant details throughout — symbolizes UCLA and its tradition of excellence in both education and the arts. The gala reopening of this campus landmark follows four years of complex seismic repairs and renovation.

Royce Hall is the main venue for performances staged by the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, which is one of the largest performing arts presenters in the nation. “The special place that UCLA Center for Performing Arts holds will be perpetuated as we return to Royce Hall,” said Michael Blachly, the center’s director. “A number of artists and ensembles are approaching us to be included in the inaugural seasons in the university’s premier performance venue. As the initial plans become solidified, I can comfortably state, with all due respect to our healthy foundation and stellar reputation, that ‘the best is yet to come.’”

The center often is compared to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. More than 250,000 people attend center performances annually. Over the years, Royce Hall’s stage has been graced by some of the most highly acclaimed performing artists and ensembles in the world, including Kathleen Battle, Luciano Pavarotti, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Leonard Bernstein, Wynton Marsalis, Itzhak Perlman, Twyla Tharp and Yo-Yo Ma.

Editors: Photos of the event are available on request, as well as color photos of Royce Hall.

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