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From the Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Philanthropy at Work

Thanks to donor Eleanor Murray, the Buffalo State Archives and Special Collections Office has a new addition that documents the history of Buffalo’s storied Studio Arena Theatre.

Mrs. Murray recently established an endowed fund to ensure that the history of Studio Arena is preserved for future generations by the experts who oversee the archives in E. H. Butler Library.

In its heyday, Studio Arena was considered one of the top regional theaters and saw such stars as Glenn Close, John Goodman, Kathy Bates, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Walken, and Christine Baranski grace its stage. Because of financial difficulties, Studio Arena closed in 2011 but then reopened as 710 Main Theatre. It’s now owned by Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

On June 9, we held a ceremony in the library to formally dedicate the archives in Eleanor Murray’s name. Approximately 30 guests attended, and we had the opportunity to personally thank her for this generous gift.

Mrs. Murray came to Buffalo in 1945 with her husband, the late Gerard Murray, a chemical engineer who worked for DuPont and manufactured the Ocelo brand. While raising their four children, Mrs. Murray, who had a lifelong love of theater, volunteered with many organizations, including the Studio Arena.

Her gift will provide for the ongoing maintenance of the archival collection, which will be permanently held for research in the library’s Special Collections. It also will enable the library to hire a graduate student to develop and maintain a searchable online database of the collection and develop rotating physical and digital exhibits.

We are grateful that Mrs. Murray has allowed the college to house this regional treasure.

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