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Huntsville family makes $20 million gift to UA

A gift commitment of $20 million, made in memory of Huntsville native Mark Smith, co-founder of...
A gift commitment of $20 million, made in memory of Huntsville native Mark Smith, co-founder of the global telecommunications company ADTRAN, was announced Friday.(University of Alabama)
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 11:50 AM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The University of Alabama has received the largest charitable gift for an academic facility in their history.

A gift commitment of $20 million, made in memory of Huntsville native Mark Smith, co-founder of the global telecommunications company ADTRAN, was announced Friday.

The Performing Arts Academic Center will be named the Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts, pending approval by the UA System Board of Trustees.

“We are grateful to the Smiths for what is not only an incredible legacy for their family but a lasting inheritance for our students, community and generations to come,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “This stunning new facility will further transform our campus, allow us to showcase our students’ exceptional talents and make UA a beacon for the performing arts.”

Mark Smith passed away in 2007. He grew up in a house full of musicians.

“Our family’s passion for the arts goes back many generations,” said Mark’s son Clay. “Music and the arts have impacted our family tremendously. They defined my father, and they helped define me. To give back to this community in this way while honoring my dad’s memory is incredibly rewarding.”

The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts will house UA’s department of theatre and dance and house four performance theatres.

Because of this gift, The University of Alabama’s Rising Tide Capital Campaign has surpassed $1 billion in charitable commitments toward its $1.5 billion goal.

The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to be complete in 2026.

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