CHILDREN OF THE LATE SHIRLEY DURST HONOR THEIR MOTHER'S LEGACY WITH A $2.5 MILLION ENDOWMENT GIFT TO PURCHASE COLLEGE, SUNY, PERPETUATING HER GENEROUS AND LONG-TIME ANNUAL GIVING THERE
Donation Will Establish Four Endowments in Her Name
The late Shirley Durst, a dedicated advocate and devoted supporter of Purchase College, SUNY for over 25 years, has been honored by her children − Peter, Leslie, and Stephen Durst − through a $2.5 million donation to the College to establish four new endowment funds in her memory, it was announced today. The funds will provide scholarships, programs, and production support.
According to Peter Durst the gift will commemorate his mother’s love for the arts and education, and for Purchase College students. “Though living in the ‘burbs' for 65 years, [Mom] always thought of herself as a city girl and loved those things about it,” he explained. “So to find and be involved with such an educationally, artistically, and culturally significant institution in her own backyard was a great thing for her.”
The four newly established endowment funds are:
- The Shirley and Royal Durst School of the Arts Endowment of $1 million to provide scholarships and production support for the School of the Arts and the School of Film and Media Studies;
- The Shirley and Royal Durst Endowed Scholarship Fund of $1 million to provide scholarships for students across disciplines, with a preference for those studying literature, art history, acting and creative writing;
- The Shirley and Royal Durst Dance Scholarship fund of $400,000 to provide scholarships for students in the Conservatory of Dance; and
- The Shirley and Royal Durst President’s Fund of $100,000 to provide unrestricted funds for the president of Purchase College to support the college’s greatest needs.
Shortly before her death at 92 in 2011, Mrs. Durst had advised Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz that she supported the notion of establishing endowed funds to sustain her history of annual giving.
“For over 25 years, Shirley actively participated in and supported the arts and humanities programs on campus,” said Schwarz. “Her dedication to and foresight of the College’s need for endowment was evident in her creation of the Shirley and Royal Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature Endowment. As an extension of this Chair, The Durst Lecture Series continues to bring us such celebrated writers as Jamaica Kincaid, Tony Kushner, Art Spiegelman, and Poet Laureate Billy Collins.” He noted that the College’s School of Humanities Building is named after the Durst family, in recognition of their ongoing commitment to Purchase College.
“Shirley was an extraordinary advocate, friend, and trustee, and we are extremely grateful for this generous donation,” Schwarz added. “Shirley, along with her husband Royal Durst, was a loyal supporter of the College. These endowment gifts from her children will ensure that the philanthropic investment she made in the College during her lifetime will live on in perpetuity. More than 400 students have already benefited from the Dursts' generosity, and with these new endowments, hundreds, if not thousands, more will receive support."
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.