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1954 graduate’s pledge starts SUNY Potsdam arts festival

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POTSDAM — When Kathryn K. Lougheed returned in 2011 to SUNY Potsdam 57 years after her graduation, she was taken by the differences on the campus.

“I used to live in MacVicar Hall, and there was nothing all around except the dorm,” she said. “It’s amazing and it’s beautiful.”

Mrs. Lougheed, a 1954 graduate of the university, and her husband, Donald L., have made the largest contribution by a living donor to SUNY Potsdam, said Jason Ladouceur, director of planned giving.

“They expressed a willingness to do something in conjunction with our spring concert,” he said. “I mentioned that we used to have a festival, and they were immediately supportive.”

Mr. Ladouceur would not reveal the amount of the Lougheeds’ pledge.

Though the Lougheeds’ donation has not been officially received by the university, they have agreed to finance it while they are still alive, meaning any income through interest generated by their bequest is usable by the university.

“We had already put in our will that eventually the money was going to go to arts education,” said Mrs. Lougheed. “What better place? What better cause? It is important to cultivate the liberal arts attitude in young people.”

Thanks to their money, the university is celebrating the Lougheed-Kofoed Festival of the Arts this week.

“We’ve been amazed by the comments and stories we’ve heard. There’s so much enthusiasm here on campus,” Mr. Lougheed said.

The Lougheeds drove from their Austin, Texas, home to enjoy the performances, exhibits and lectures their generosity has brought to the Potsdam campus.

“It has been very emotional to see how it’s affecting other people,” Mrs. Lougheed said. “I feel blessed that this opportunity has come to me.”

Each year, Mr. and Mrs. Lougheed drive in an RV from Texas to their summer home in Northville.

This evening, the festival includes a performance of “Our Lady” in the College Theater and a creative writing showcase at 6 p.m. in the Dunn Dance Theater.

The schedule continues Friday with a 5 p.m. topping-off ceremony for the university’s new performing arts building and a performance of the “Celebration Barn Ensemble” at 6:30 p.m. in the College Theater.

On Saturday, the festival culminates in a 7:30 p.m. performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Messa de Requiem” by the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall.

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