MCC to Name Downtown Performing Arts Building After Nancy Donahue
LOWELL -- Driving or walking by the new Middlesex Community College Academic Arts Center on Central Street, you may notice a space on the building that’s almost asking for a name.
That spot will be filled in the coming months with the name of a well-known family in Lowell -- a philanthropic family that has donated to causes all across the city and region.
The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously Thursday to name its new arts center after Nancy Donahue and the Donahue family.
Nancy Donahue recently gave a “generous donation” to support arts education at Middlesex Community College, according to trustees Chairman James Campbell. It’s the single largest gift in the college’s history, he added. The amount has been kept private, a request from the donor.
She will also be the honorary chair of a $1.5 million naming campaign for the center.
The Donahue family has been a “steadfast supporter” of Middlesex Community College for several years, Campbell said.
“This family has been outstanding over the last 30 years in promoting education in the community,” Campbell said. “I cannot think of a community arts and educational organization not supported by the family.”
The $1.5 million naming campaign will help support the building’s completion and programs there at the center.
For months, MCC President James Mabry and members of the college’s advancement team have been working with Donahue on the naming.
“I am thrilled to be able to help move this project forward and excited that MCC has been able to rebuild this wonderful historic structure,” Donahue said in a statement. She did not attend the meeting.
Renovation of the new arts center in the former Boston and Maine Railroad Depot on Central Street is nearly complete.
Built in 1876, MCC’s new Academic Arts Center has stood as a multipurpose facility in the heart of Lowell for nearly 150 years. The structure was saved from demolition in 1989 by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission.
The exterior of the building was renovated by Lowell National Historical Park, which transferred ownership to MCC in 2008.
Mabry said the expansion of MCC’s footprint downtown allows the college to offer a premier performance learning space for its theater, music and dance students.
“There is plenty of enthusiasm around this,” Mabry said.
When Donahue called the college to donate money for arts education, the advancement team was thrilled, said Judy Burke, dean of corporate and community education and training.
The Donahue name has always been at the top of their list, she said.
“We’re very excited about having Nancy on board,” Burke said.
The new arts center will open this fall.
Follow Rick Sobey on Twitter @rsobeyLSun.