News Service


Sue Haug, Department of Music, 515-294-0400
Phyllis Lepke, ISU Foundation, 515-294-6655
Steve Sullivan, News Service, 515-294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- A Marshalltown woman's generosity and love of the arts will be recognized on Sunday, Oct. 25, when the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall in Iowa State University's Music Hall is officially dedicated.

The existing recital hall is being named in honor of the late Marshalltown woman, whose $1.1 million gift to the ISU Foundation's Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best has greatly impacted the performing arts and art education at the university.

The Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall dedication will begin at 3 p.m. in the Music Hall. Among the speakers will be President Martin Jischke, music department head Sue Haug and ISU Foundation President Tom Mitchell. A dedication concert will feature the Iowa State Singers and the University Chorus. Tours and demonstrations of the hall's renovations will be offered.

"This gift has tremendous potential to broaden Iowa State's academic reputation in the arts," said ISU President Martin Jischke. "It exemplifies Mrs. Tye's lifelong desire to keep the arts alive and to benefit youth."

Tye, who passed away last May, was well known for her philanthropic activities, not only in her hometown, but throughout the state, nation and world. In addition to supporting Iowa's three public universities, she was a patron of the Des Moines Metro Opera, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the San Antonio Symphony, and the American Institute for Musical Studies. She was the lead donor to renovate Iowa State's Fisher Theater, named for her brother, Bill, who attended ISU in the 1930s, was a Foundation Governor, and like his sister, a major benefactor to build the facility.

Tye's most recent gift to ISU includes $300,000 to create a performing arts scholarship endowment, $500,000 to establish the Martha-Ellen Tye Performing Arts Institute, and $300,000 to renovate the recital hall.

Among various improvements, the recital hall upgrade includes a new multi-media, surround-sound, audio-video system; a new multi- channel audio workstation enabling high-digital recordings; and a new theatrical lighting system. All the formats are computer integrated, providing direct access via the Internet.

"The scholarship program and the improvements to the recital hall greatly enhance opportunities for students in the department of music," said Haug. "We are honored to have Martha-Ellen Tye's name associated with are hall and are pleased to have student ensembles participating in this dedication event, because students are the ultimate recipients of her generosity."

The Martha-Ellen Tye Performing Arts Institute, which is coordinated by the Iowa State Center, was created to present and support education and outreach programs in the performing arts. The institute will offer educational programs to elementary, high school and university students; provide performance experiences to aspiring young performing artists and support the facilities that help students realize their creative potential, said Paul Ferrone, director of performing arts programming for the Iowa State Center.

The institute's inaugural event will be in September 1999, when selected winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions will perform at Stephens Auditorium with accompaniment by the Des Moines Symphony.

"Two things that Martha-Ellen Tye dearly loved were opera and young people, particularly singers," said Ferrone. "To be able to bring two of her interests together for the institute's inaugural event is very appropriate."

Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best is the largest fund-raising initiative in Iowa State history. Conducted by the ISU Foundation, the campaign reached its original $300 million goal in September 1998 and was extended to $425 million for its conclusion June 30, 2000. The campaign is generating resources for projects that are part of Iowa State's strategic plan and aspiration to become the best land-grant university in the nation.


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