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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Regional

University Gets $3 Million From Knott Daughter

September 13, 2000

ORANGE — A daughter of the founder of Knott's Berry Farm has given Chapman University $3 million for construction of a 43,000-square-foot music building and the renovation of the existing facility.

The gift from Toni Oliphant is the largest the School of Music has received.

"I'm so excited about it, it's hard to talk about it," said William Hall, dean of the music school. "This is one of these major gifts that literally change an institution."

In addition, Richard and Hyla Bertea have donated $1 million to establish the Bertea Family Endowed Chair, whose first recipient is Hall. The Berteas donated more than $1 million toward the original music building, Hall said. Richard Bertea is a Chapman trustee.

Construction of Oliphant Symphony Hall is planned to begin in June if an additional $4 million can be raised. The three-story building is to include teaching studios, practice rooms, a dance studio in the basement and a symphony hall. When the project is completed, there will be 30 practice rooms, up from the existing seven.

With the additional space, the university will be able to establish its first four master's degree programs in music, Hall said. They will be in performance, conducting, music therapy and, perhaps, art management, in association with the business and law schools.

The increased space probably will lead to more performances, Hall said.

The building is needed because of the increase in music majors, Hall said. When Bertea Hall opened in 1975 there were 68; now there are 190.

The expected construction of the new building is the catalyst for several other moves in the School of Music. The popular 125-member William Hall Master Chorale, which Hall founded, already has moved from Costa Mesa and taken up residence at the Orange campus.

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