Purchase College to Honor Douglas Durst and the Durst Organization with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award November 12

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Purchase College will honor Douglas Durst and the Durst Organization with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for arts philanthropy and environmental sustainability on November 12 when it will also honor choreographer Merce Cunningham, opera singer Jessye Norman, artist Helen Frankenthaler and theater designer Ming Cho Lee for their commitment to the arts and contributions to society. The event marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of Purchase College by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and the establishment of the School of the Arts Endowment Fund to provide scholarships and support for student productions and exhibitions.

    The awards will be presented at the Millennium Broadway Hotel/ The Hudson Theater at a Gala in New York City.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Award honors the achievements and contributions of artists, arts patrons and those committed to the environment, in recognition of Purchase College's mission of educating the artists and creative thinkers of tomorrow. The award is named for the former Governor of New York, an ardent champion of the arts and the environment whose vision and commitment to the arts in a liberal arts setting inspired the founding of Purchase College.

Douglas Durst, co-president of the Durst Organization, is a member of the third generation of Dursts to run this family firm, one of New York's oldest and largest real estate development and management companies and one of the originators of the Green Building Movement. Since its founding by Mr. Durst's grandfather, Joseph, in 1915, it has transformed the skyline of midtown Manhattan. After Mr. Durst joined the firm in the 1970's, Westside development was expanded and the Organization became a catalyst for large-scale office development in Times Square. Among the company's latest projects are 4 Times Square, the nation's first green skyscraper, and the Bank of America Tower, a 945-foot-tall office building scheduled to open in midtown Manhattan in 2008, which will be one of the most environmentally advanced office towers in the world.

A native New Yorker and a lifelong environmentalist, Mr. Durst is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and attended the Urban Studies Program at New York University. He is part owner of the largest organic farm in New York, co-chairman of Friends of the Hudson River Park, and is active in helping to maintain and preserve New York City's waterfront and natural areas. He is also chairman of New York Water Taxi and a board member of the Roundabout Theater, Primary Stages and the Town Hall, and active in many other organizations.

The funds raised will enable exceptionally talented students to study at the Purchase College School of the Arts and support the production costs of hundreds of public concerts, plays, operas, dance performances and exhibitions presented by the students for audiences in the tri-state area.

Students in the Purchase College School of the Arts study in an intensely challenging and creative atmosphere where they learn professional skills with personal support from a faculty of working artists who are noted in their fields and from guest directors, choreographers, musicians, visual artists and performers who oversee productions and conduct master classes.

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Geraldine Sanderson / Anne Brady
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