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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
UVSC's William Sederburg presents Tye Noorda with a gift in thanking her for theater arts contribution.

OREM — Utah Valley State College announced a generous donation Monday that will enable the school to improve theater opportunities for children.

The Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation asked that the donation amount be kept confidential, but UVSC officials say it is the largest single payment gift in the college's history.

Last year's donation from the Woodbury Family for UVSC's business school was $20 million but will be paid over a period of 10 years.

The result of Monday's donation will be the Noorda Regional Theatre Center for Children and Youth. The program will be part of UVSC's Department of Theatrical Arts.

"The support of this donation will continue to help us move toward becoming a quality university," said UVSC President William Sederburg. "It is a wonderful statement of confidence in our strategy of creating a university based on community engagement."

Tye Noorda, who made the donation in honor of her late husband, former Novell CEO Ray Noorda, also has a vision of an engaged community. She would like those involved at the Theatre Center to work in cooperation with other regional centers for the arts in order to create a place for the community — especially youths — to participate in the performing arts.

"Almost everyone has to get up and speak in front of a group at some point," Noorda said. "It makes a difference if that person is confident and can stand up and give a speech that's good enough and organized enough to get their point across. People will listen."

Part of the donation, along with a match pledged by UVSC, will also go toward upgrading the college's theater facilities, including the black box theater. The funding will also go toward expanding the department of theatrical arts to include new staff positions.

The donation will make a difference in the lives of many students, said Kathie Debenham, interim dean for the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences.

"Our students will reap tremendous benefits from the engaged teaching and learning that will be at the heart of the Noorda Theatre Center," Debenham said.

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