During Ocean County College’s 47th Annual Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 22, Jeremy Grunin, Executive Director of the Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation, announced a $5.75 million donation to Ocean County College. The donation will establish the Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on the College’s Main Campus in Toms River.
“Ocean County is home to many residents who view artistic and cultural experience as an important enrichment to their daily lives. Many travel to Monmouth County, Princeton University, Philadelphia, and New York City to utilize the facilities there to satisfy their hunger for the arts. The Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College will help make Ocean County a magnet for patrons of the fine and performing arts,” explained Dr. Jon H. Larson, OCC President.
According to Dr. Larson, the College was chosen for this donation because OCC already has outstanding facilities, as well as strong partnerships with the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Performing Arts Academy (PAA), Kean University Arts programs, and the Garden State Philharmonic (GSP), the orchestra-in-residence at OCC.
“This is the single largest donation that the Ocean County College Foundation has received in OCC’s 50-year history and it is a testament to both the Grunins’ generosity and the trust they place in the College,” said Heather Barberi, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation.
The $5.75 million gift will establish an arts center endowment that will allow OCC to develop quality programming that will be housed in the Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts (formerly Arts & Community Center).
The income generated from this endowment will be used for a number of initiatives that benefit OCC, Kean-Ocean, PAA, and local high school students, as well as county residents and visitors. The Center will provide students and local artists with a venue to display their talents while benefiting and enriching the cultural life of county residents.
Endowment initiatives include, but are not limited to the following:
· An annual theatre and music production series;
· Professional-level performing ensembles that attract not only college and high school students but also GSP and local musicians;
· A professional visual arts gallery for student, local, and national art exhibits;
· Master classes for college and high school students; and
· Guest artist lectures and workshops.
· Monies generated from the gift may also be used for other purposes benefitting the Center for the Arts.
“The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation is dedicated to supporting Ocean and Monmouth county-based initiatives that include the arts, human services, and education. The Foundation has in recent years made a considerable impact in the areas of health care and in education. We see the untapped potential in the fine and performing arts here in Ocean County and know that Ocean County College is the perfect vehicle for unleashing that potential, specifically through our young people,” Grunin explained.
Dr. Larson added, “The new Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts will promote the arts in Ocean County. We are very grateful for this generous donation by the Grunins, which will serve to benefit both the College and the community for years to come."