Artist's widow gives $1M to Stony Brook's Southampton campus

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The widow of 1960s pop artist Roy Lichtenstein has donated $1 million to Stony Brook University's Southampton campus, its largest gift ever for arts programming, as the school tries to revitalize its East End location.

"I'm so excited this campus has a second chance to shine," Dorothy Lichtenstein, 73, a resident of Southampton and a board member of the Stony Brook Foundation, said recently.

Her late husband was an American illustrator and painter considered a leader in the pop art movement of the 1960s along with Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, among others. Lichtenstein was best known for his boldly colored parodies of comic strips and advertisements.

University officials in 2010 shuttered most of the Southampton campus, citing state aid cuts, about four years after SBU bought the cash-strapped site from Long Island University.

Lichtenstein's gift will go toward graduate arts programming in creative writing, theater, film and visual arts, which would engage the East End community. It will allow the university to move forward on several initiatives, including the David Rakoff Studio Theater, scholarships for students, and the launch of a digital filmmaking program, officials said.

Stony Brook president Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said earlier this month that the Southampton campus was on a "positive trajectory." He said the university is also offering degree programs in marine science. He hopes Lichtenstein's gift will inspire philanthropy from other East End artists.

The goal is for the campus to become "revenue neutral," Stanley said. "I don't have a problem subsidizing some of the programs out there, as long as they are quality programs and provide a good opportunity for our students."

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