Press Release

Pace University Announces Sands College of Performing Arts

May 4, 2023
Performers on stage at the Pace University School of Performing Arts

New Standalone College Recognizes $25 Million Gift From Pamela and Rob Sands, J.D. ’84

State-of-the-Art Performing Arts Center to be Included In Transformation of University’s Flagship Home at One Pace Plaza

Pace University’s board of trustees voted yesterday to launch the Sands College of Performing Arts this fall. The college, which will commence with the 2023–2024 academic year, is named in recognition of a $25 million gift from Pamela and Rob Sands, J.D. ’84, and becomes the seventh school and college within Pace University.

Sands College will build on the global reputation of one of Pace University’s flagship programs, which includes undergraduate and graduate degrees in acting, directing, musical theater, commercial dance, production and design for stage and screen, and stage management. The college will draw upon the vast creative resources of New York City to cultivate the talent of a new generation of diverse performing artists.

“The creation of the College and the transformation of One Pace Plaza will cement Pace’s place in the downtown arts scene—and Pace’s reputation as a leading performing arts school,” said Rob Sands, J.D. ’84, chair of Pace’s Board of Trustees and board chair of Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 beer, wine, and spirits company. “Pamela and I are proud to have our names associated with such a rich history of student success, and we’re excited about the University’s bold plans for supporting our students as they work to meet the challenges of our time.”

Student from the Pace Performing arts School singing on stage with a spotlight shining down on him.

This announcement comes as Pace is in the process of transforming One Pace Plaza, its flagship home in lower Manhattan, to include a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center with three new venues—a 450-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat flexible theater, and a 99-seat black box theater—supported by scene and costume shops, dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, green rooms, and public spaces, and complemented by dance studios. The One Pace Plaza renovation will also provide new academic spaces, common spaces, and a modernized residence hall to serve the full University community.

The Sands donation is part of a larger campaign for the transformation of Pace’s lower Manhattan campus that includes private donors, significant investments from Pace, and $30 million in support from New York State and the federal government. The start of this phase of work on One Pace Plaza will coincide with the completion of a new building at 15 Beekman, which is slated to open in Fall 2023.

“The Sands College of Performing Arts will be a path-setting performing arts college for the 21st century,” said Pace President Marvin Krislov. “Our performing arts students, like all Pace students, are talented, ambitious leaders—who have amazing careers. Now, thanks to the generosity of Rob and Pamela Sands, their opportunities will expand, and these remarkable programs will get the attention they deserve. We’re excited for the future ahead, and we’re all so thankful to Rob and Pamela.”

Established in 2014 within Pace’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, the Pace School of Performing Arts (PPA) was the first new performing arts school in Manhattan in nearly 50 years. In less than a decade, it became a powerhouse, with alumni regularly working in film, television, and theater.

“Pace Performing Arts’ innovative programs draw upon the vast creative resources of New York City to cultivate the talent of a new generation of diverse artists,” said PPA Executive Director Jennifer Holmes, Ph.D. “We admit top performing arts students and pair them with seasoned faculty to become disciplined professionals who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in their craft. Our students will be the changemakers shaping the performing arts industry of the future. This gift enables us to grow our cutting edge and inclusive performing arts school, and to attract a broad array of exceptional performing arts students and professionals.”

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has been transforming the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. With campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, Pace offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs to 13,600 students in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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