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EIU Media Relations

Tarble Foundation Gives $2.5 Million for New Artists Series at EIU


The Tarble Foundation, a longtime supporter of the arts at Eastern Illinois University, has given another $2.5 million to help fund programming at the new Doudna Fine Arts Center.

The large gift will benefit EIU’s New and Emerging Artists Series, which will help the new Doudna facility stand out by bringing in artists who challenge the boundaries and conventions of traditional art, music, theatre arts and creative writing.

“With the financial support this endowment will provide, we will be able to bring in outstanding artists and performers at an affordable cost for those who attend,” said EIU President Lou Hencken. “This is a tremendous gift to the students, faculty and staff of Eastern, as well as the citizens of all of east-central Illinois.”

The Doudna Fine Arts Center is set to open in 2008, and EIU officials are excited about what its programs, especially the New and Emerging Artists Series, will bring not only to the campus, but to the entire region.

Through the years, the Tarble family has donated more than $9.4 million to benefit the arts at the university, making them the most giving family in EIU’s history.

“We’re extremely appreciative of how generous the entire Tarble family has been to the university,” Hencken said.

The family’s benevolence began with Newton E. Tarble, whose dream was to “take the arts to the people.” Mr. Tarble, an Eastern alumnus and co-founder of Snap-On Tools, and his wife, Pat, provided funding for the construction of the Tarble Arts Center and its addition, enhancements and programs.

Their daughter, Jan Tarble of Los Angeles, has continued her late parents’ giving legacy. It was her decision to give this latest $2.5 million gift from the Tarble Foundation to EIU, as she believed it was a fitting way to honor her parents, whom she said would be “enthusiastic” about the new fine arts center and the activities planned there.

“We were very fortunate to be able to do it,” Tarble said. “It’s a worthwhile project.”

The community has been very supportive of the Tarble Arts Center through the years, Tarble said, and she encourages the community to similarly take advantage of and encourage opportunities that will be available at the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

“Jan Tarble’s contributions to the arts at EIU and east-central Illinois have been singular,” said James K, Johnson, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “Her recent gift carries on the very proud Tarble family tradition of expanding the reach of the arts and arts programming beyond the campus to the larger community. Her generosity has touched thousands of lives and, with this gift, will continue to touch even thousands more long into the future.”

In addition to bringing in new artists, the New and Emerging Artist Series is to include regularly scheduled symposia on the topic of “Creativity and the Creative Process,” drawing from disciplines as disparate as mathematics, art, physics, music, family and consumer sciences, history, business, philosophy and athletics.

The entire series will promote the concept of “relationship-driven education” at Eastern by allowing visiting artists to present master classes for a personal learning experience.

It is also expected to draw in students, especially those working in new art forms not yet served by existing programs elsewhere.

Vaughn Jaenike, dean emeritus of the College of Fine Arts, praised all of the behind-the-scenes individuals involved with turning the Tarbles' funds into worthwhile endeavors.

“For the sequence of gifts to have continued through three decades is testimony to the extent the Tarbles have been impressed by what their support has helped to bring about," Jaenike said.

In 1995, Newton, Pat and Jan Tarble were named to Eastern Illinois University’s Centennial 100 listing of the most significant individuals who had contributed to the success of the university through its first 100 years.

The Tarble family was also named “Outstanding Philanthropist” by the EIU Foundation in 1993 and 2002.

In 1975, Mr. Tarble was presented an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Eastern and, two years earlier, was named a distinguished alumnus. Jan Tarble will receive an honorary degree from EIU this spring.



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Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

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