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Performing Arts Center Rehearsal Room Named After Arts Dean
New musical theatre rehearsal room to honor dean behind the development of new Performing Arts Center.

December 15, 2005
by Gail Matsunaga

To honor a favorite teacher who has been the driving force for the construction of the new Performing Arts Center, an arts alumna — who wishes to remain anonymous — initiated a fund-raising effort for the newly named Jerry Samuelson Musical Theatre Rehearsal Room in the new Performing Arts Center.

Almost 78 gifts, totaling more than $108,000 have been raised so far, coming from members of the Art Alliance, Music Associates and Titan alumni.

Spearheading the campaign are Maxine Allen, president of the Art Alliance, and Music Associates Joyce Leong and Katie Thorsen.

“The opportunity to be involved in the naming of the Jerry Samuelson Musical Theatre Rehearsal Room has brought great joy to all of us who recognize Jerry’s vision, creativity and hard work,” says Thorsen, wife of emeritus professor of music David O. Thorsen. “The Performing Arts Center will be a reminder of the large contribution he has made to the College of the Arts and the university.”

‘The Performing Arts Center will be a reminder of the large contribution he has made to the College of the Arts and the university.’

Samuelson has served the campus community for more than four decades in several capacities, including that of charter director of the Main Art Gallery, chair of the Art Department from 1967 to 1975 and dean of the College of the Arts since 1975.

He also served as a member of the CSU Arts Advisory Council to the Chancellor in 1984 and as an adviser to the chancellor from 1985 to 1988. A founding board member of Orange County’s Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Samelson has overseen the birth of the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, as well as the new Performing Arts Center.

The gala grand opening for the new Performing Arts Center kicks off on Friday, Jan. 13, with an 11 a.m. dedication followed by a concert featuring alumna Deborah Voigt on Saturday and additional performances Sunday. For more information, go to

Donations are still being accepted for this “tribute gift.” For more information or to give, contact Milly Heaton of University Advancement at 278-7695.

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