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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hopkins Center receives $25 million donation

A wing of the renovated center will be named after Daryl and Steven Roth in honor of their donation — the largest dedicated to the arts in College history.


At an April 17 gala at the Lincoln Center, College President Sian Leah Beilock announced a $25 million donation to the Hopkins Center for the Arts from Daryl and Steven Roth ’62 Tu’63. The donation, which is the largest gift dedicated to the arts in Dartmouth’s history, will go toward ongoing renovations of the Hopkins Center

The reimagined Hopkins Center, which is set to open in late 2025, will cost $89 million to complete, according to the Call to Lead campaign website. It will expand the existing center by 15,000 square feet. The new space, which will feature a recital hall, performance lab, dance studio and welcoming plaza, will be named the Daryl and Steven Roth Wing, according to Hopkins Center representative Michael Bodel.

Daryl Roth is a 13-time Tony Award-winning producer who has produced seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, including “Anna in the Tropics” and “August: Osage County.” Steven Roth, a former Trustee of the College, works as a real estate investor and is the chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, a New York commercial landlord. 

The Roths have donated to Dartmouth for more than 50 years, according to Bodel. Previous donations from the Roths include the Roth Center for Jewish Life, student scholarships and three endowed professorships. Recently, they supported the Roth Visiting Scholar Award — a residency that brings distinguished leaders to Dartmouth to inspire students and broaden intellectual interest across disciplines. Past recipients include ​​economist Robert Staiger, theoretical physicist Sylvester James Gates and composer and performer Daniel Roumain, among others. 

At the gala, the Roths were honored by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and Dartmouth Board of Trustees president emeritus Bill Helman ’81. Hop director Mary Lou Aleskie and Hood Museum of Art director John Stomberg introduced Snøhetta architects Craig Dykers and Nick Anderson, who are currently working on the renovation. They provided an animated “fly-through” of the Hop expansion. 

According to Dartmouth News, more than 275 alumni, Trustees and friends of the arts attended the gala wearing green and white — the colors of Dartmouth. The fountain in front of the Lincoln Center was colored green, and Rachel Dratch ’88 and Tina Fey made guest appearances to give a speech. The gala also featured performances by an a capella group, the Dartmouth Aires, and trumpeter Jacob Crawford ’27. 

The event programming included a video tribute to the Hopkins Center’s legacy, featuring notable Dartmouth alumni in the arts — including Connie Britton ’89, Dratch, Jamey Hampton ’76, Timothy O’Leary ’97, Shonda Rhimes ’91, Kabir Sehgal ’05 and Sharon Washington ’81. 

The Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House was designed by the same architect as the Hopkins Center, according to Dartmouth News. Harrison drew inspiration from the Hop when he designed the Lincoln Center. 

The new Daryl and Steven Roth Wing will expand the capacity for creativity. According to Bodel, the additions are essential for the College to meet the burgeoning need for student experiences in the arts.  

“The impact of the expanded Hop will be felt most by our students, who will have spaces right at the center of campus to socialize, study the arts, create and perform,” Bodel wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth. “We will be tripling the amount of space for artistic study and creative incubation and better supporting arts education and creative practices. We will also be able to host more than 100 additional student music rehearsals and 75 additional student dance rehearsals each term.”

Polly Chesnokova ’24, a member of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, expressed excitement about having a dedicated space for DDE in the Hopkins Center. 

“We have our shows at the Hop, but we’ve always practiced in the Straus Dance Studio… and in the gym, and a lot of dance groups practice there, too,” Chesnokova said. “To finally have a dedicated dance studio at Dartmouth would be amazing.” 

According to theater department lighting designer Dan Kotlowitz, the wing’s new performance lab will feature a flexible black box theater able to transform into any seating arrangement — such as a proscenium, a theatre-in-the-round or a thrust stage — allowing for greater creativity in the arrangement of future theatrical productions. 

Kotlowitz emphasized the need for flexibility, which he has observed since taking on his role in 1995.  

“We’ve been talking about this need for decades,” Kotlowitz said. “This is not a new thing that we came up with. I think the first meeting I ever had with someone about a need for this was 15 years ago. We put together a list of things we needed, and one of the first was a flexible black box theater like this, so we’re very excited about that.”

Since they began in 2019, the Hopkins Center renovations have put a slight halt on the communal aspect of the arts at Dartmouth — prompting students to use alternative performance spaces like Sudikoff Hall, Wilson Hall and Bema, Chesnokova said.

“Not having a centralized location for the arts changes a lot of things, and you have to get creative with where you present your art,” Chesnokova said. “It can be challenging but fascinating, as recently the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble had our last showcase happen in Bema, which was fantastic in terms of dancing and interacting with the audience. We wouldn’t have had it if it weren’t for the Hop closure.”

The Roths’ investment in the arts builds on a shared idea to create a world-class arts district, a campaign that the College announced under former President Phil Hanlon. A centralized arts district would emphasize the value Dartmouth places on the arts as a vehicle for community, exploration and innovation, according to Bodel.

“I think there’s actually another step to the whole thing, which is the formation of these three buildings into an arts district, and there’s been talk on expanding that district and making it a hub for the arts,” Kotlowitz said. “My hope is that at some point students will look at Dartmouth and will want to go here because of how strong we are in the arts.”

After the grand reopenings of the Hood Museum in 2019 and the Black Family Visual Arts Center in 2023, Kotlowitz said the Hopkins Center is the “last leg” of the arts district renovation plan. 

“I think it’s a response to the new culture of arts at Dartmouth, and in itself will generate more interest in the arts, certainly attract more students and expand on the work being done not just in theater but in music, film, studio art or dance,” Kotlowitz said. “This way we will all be working closer together.”