By Sheri Webber
Fri., Dec. 7, Jacksonville University (JU) announced the naming of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts in recognition of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar gift, among the largest investments in the University’s 84-year history, from alumnus Linda Berry Stein ’69 and her husband, David Stein.
“Linda and David Stein have helped lead Jacksonville University’s robust culture of giving and serving, and we are grateful for their investment in the future success of our students,” said Tim Cost ’81, President of Jacksonville University. “Linda and David are game changers of the highest order, as advocates, mentors and friends, and we are honored to celebrate the future of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts.”
The Steins’ historic investment creates the Stein Artist Scholars Endowment, endowing “Steiner” student scholarships in perpetuity, as well as funding the renovation of the on-campus Phillips Fine Arts Building and the naming of the Stein Family Lobby, establishment of an outdoor study and creative collaboration plaza adjacent to the arts complex, and formation of the Linda Berry Stein Fine Arts Student of the Year award.
“To reinvest in my alma mater, my home away from home, and our talented students, fills my heart.”
This transformational gift continues Linda Berry Stein’s deep relationship with the arts at Jacksonville University. She left her hometown of Savannah, Georgia to enroll at JU under the tutelage of then-Dean of Fine Arts Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne. Linda Berry Stein became a proud member of the Tri Delta Sorority, was crowned Miss Jacksonville University in her junior year, named Miss Riparian, and sweetheart for the Alpha Kappa Psi and Phi Delta Theta fraternities, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1969. More recently, the Steins were honored as Outstanding Philanthropists in 2016 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Linda Berry Stein was celebrated as the recipient of the 2018 EVE Award from the Florida Times-Union, as well as the 2018 Bernard Selevan Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund.
“I came to JU as a young woman looking to build my future. My mother and father believed in a strong education and always supported my passions,” said Linda Berry Stein. “I earned scholarships, worked hard, studied, pursued a music degree and made lifelong friends here. To have this opportunity to reinvest in my alma mater, my home away from home, and our talented students fills my heart. It is a joy for David and me to make this commitment to a place that means so much to us.”
“Linda Berry Stein exemplifies the best of our Jacksonville University graduates,” said Chancellor Emerita Frances Bartlett Kinne. “I always tell our students to go out and make the world a better place, and the Steins have taken that to heart, supporting young people in so many parts of Jacksonville, and keeping the University close to their hearts.”
The unveiling occurred December 7 in conjunction with the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts’ annual, sold-out holiday orchestra concert at the recently-renovated Terry Concert Hall, home of the newest JU glass masterpiece, Creative Current. The Stein gift comes on the heels of the University’s unprecedented fundraising effort – ASPIRE, which concluded on June 30, 2018. The ASPIRE philanthropic campaign surpassed both initial and elevated goals, raising $121.4 million for University priorities set forth by President Cost and the Board of Trustees. This latest gift also marks the second multi-million-dollar investment in the University in less than three months. JU received a $6.3 million unrestricted gift from The Carl S. Swisher Foundation in September.
“As an alumna, the chair of the College of Fine Arts’ 50th Anniversary Celebration, a 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree, and a charter member of the College of Fine Arts’ Advisory Board, Linda’s history of kindness and generosity toward our college is extraordinary,” said Dr. Tim Snyder, Dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts. “This visionary gift from the Steins promises to transform the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts and help us fulfill our mission of training young artists to succeed in the world and to change it for the better.”
Approaching nearly six decades of world-renowned and award-winning arts education, the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts offers undergraduate students in Dance, Music, Theater and the Visual Arts, and graduate degrees in Choreography and Visual Arts. Past graduates have gone on to win Tony awards on Broadway and Emmy awards on television, as well as recognition for composition, visual arts, and choreography. Notable Dolphins include actor, theater director and singer Terrence Mann and the late actor, comedian and radio personality Jay Thomas. The Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts is also renowned for its glassblowing program, with Jacksonville University student and faculty work on display at the Florida Times-Union Center, the Cummer Museum, and the Jacksonville University Davis College of Business.
Named an “America’s Best College” in the south for more than 10 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report, Jacksonville University is a premier private institution in northeast Florida. Founded in 1934, JU offers more than 100 majors, minors, and programs, including in-demand degrees in Business, Marine Science, Engineering, Finance, Physics, and Nursing, as well as those in the more contemporary and specialized fields of Aviation, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Film, Animation, and Sport Business. Jacksonville University is located in a beautiful riverfront setting in suburban Jacksonville, across the St. Johns River from downtown and just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. The 240-acre campus includes a half-mile of riverfront, oak-lined paths, and a mix of historic and new campus buildings.