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Purchase Receives $2.5 Million Donation

Purchase College is pleased to announce it will receive a $2.5 million donation by Peter, Leslie, and Stephen Durst in honor of their mother, the late Shirley Durst.

The College will establish four new endowment funds in her memory that will provide scholarships, programs, performance, and production support. 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.

Shirley's passion for Purchase College and her dedication to seeing the school flourish was evident to all who knew her. For over 25 years, Shirley actively participated in and supported the arts and humanities programs on campus. She created 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.

Shortly before her death at 92 in 2011, Mrs. Durst had advised President Schwarz that she supported the notion of establishing endowed funds to sustain her history of annual giving. 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.

The Dursts' generosity already has supported three generations and hundreds of Purchase College students, and with these new endowments, hundreds, if not thousands, more will receive support.

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