August 3rd, 2015
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Sam Hamra, a native of Springfield, Missouri, has given $100,000 to the University of Missouri to help fund the planning, design and construction of the proposed new School of Music building on the MU campus in honor of his wife, June.
The proposed site for the new building is the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue on the MU campus. The new School of Music building is a part of a larger project that will include the renovation of the Fine Arts Building in order to improve facilities for the MU theater and art departments.
Sam and June Hamra have supported many MU programs and initiatives over the years, including the June S. Hamra Performing Arts Showcase Endowment Fund, which supports student showcase performance opportunities in the School of Music and Department of Theatre. Through this fund and other support, the Hamras seek to advance and enhance performing arts education at MU.
“I wanted this gift to recognize the efforts that my wife put forth in helping students develop their vocal talents during the time she taught voice at the University of Missouri,” Hamra said. “She will always be recognized for her beautiful, God-given singing voice, which has been her love since childhood. June and I hope this gift will help music students achieve the goals they desire in life.”
Currently, the MU School of Music uses classroom, studio, rehearsal and office space in five different buildings, including the Fine Arts Building, the Fine Arts Annex, Loeb Hall, Stewart Hall and McKee Hall. The new building will house all School of Music activities under one roof and also will open space across campus for use by other schools and colleges. Advancement officials from MU and the College of Arts and Science are currently in the initial fundraising phase for the project, which includes a new School of Music building and a renovation of the Fine Arts Building, which are estimated to cost approximately $74 million to complete. Construction is projected to begin in 2016.
“In order to continue to attract the best students and faculty, one of MU’s top priorities is the construction of a dedicated School of Music building and the renovation of the Fine Arts Building,” said Michael O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science. “Once completed, this project will facilitate continued enrollment growth, enable more students to explore the fine arts at Mizzou, attract outstanding students and faculty and enhance the aesthetics of our already beautiful campus. The generosity of the Hamras will help advance us toward our goal.”
MU officials hope to receive state funds matching the Hamra’s gift and other private gifts to help support the project. Plans for the renovation of the Fine Arts Building will improve and increase the size of the facilities for the theater and art departments, as they will share the entire building once the School of Music moves to the new building.
Sam and June Hamra are alumni of the University of Missouri. Sam has business and law degrees, and June earned a Master of Arts in music history and voice from MU. The Hamras are chairman and vice-chairman respectively, of Hamra Enterprises, which owns and operates 101 restaurants around the country. In 1990, Sam Hamra received the MU Faculty-Alumni Award and, in 2003, received the MU Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor MU presents to one alumnus each year. June Hamra received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the MU College of Arts and Science in 2001 and the MU Faculty-Alumni Award in 2001.