Nilsson $100,000 endowment gift supports contemporary drama

June 9, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas—David O. Nilsson, a retired special instructor in mathematics, has given $100,000 toward the creation of an endowment supporting the acquisition of works by the world’s finest modern dramatists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Fine Arts Library. Nilsson’s gift establishes the David O. Nilsson Endowment and Lecture Series for Excellence in Contemporary Drama. The endowment will provide funds for collecting materials relating to modern drama.

The endowment also funds an annual lecture series to feature playwrights, scholars, critics and performers speaking to their work, influences and issues facing the world of contemporary drama.

“The generous support of Dr. David Nilsson will transform a strong theatre collection into a collection of the first order,” said Fine Arts Librarian Laura Schwartz. “An expanded collection, along with the Ransom Center’s Performing Arts Collection and the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance, will make Austin a required stop for research in contemporary theater.”

“I felt a gift of this nature could help to make a remarkable university resource even more so,” Nilsson said. “I’ve recently become nostalgic about my earlier study of Henrik Ibsen and wanted to contribute towards the establishment of a fund that might help to foster another great playwright while expanding resources for students of all the fine arts.”

In addition to his contribution to the Fine Arts Library, Nilsson has recently committed funds to the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection and an Endowed Presidential Scholarship in the College of Fine Arts, donated a rare photograph to the Harry Ransom Center and established a scholarship through the International Office for Mexican students at The University of Texas at Austin.

“David’s gift to the university demonstrates the impact of philanthropy by touching so many areas that are important to our students and faculty,” said Dr. Fred Heath, vice provost and director of university libraries. “His generosity is a model for charitable giving in the 21st century.”

The Fine Arts Library collections include about 300,000 books and scores, 900 current serial subscriptions, 38,000 phonodiscs, 4,300 cassette tapes, more than 36,000 compact discs, 3,900 video cassettes and videodiscs, 6,200 reels of microfilm and 24,000 microfiche, as well as access to numerous online subscription resources. The Nilsson endowment will enhance the library’s ability to fortify its drama and theater collections.

For more information contact: Travis Willmann, University of Texas Libraries, 512-495-4644.