The Robert Goldstine Foundation has made a $1 million gift to the University of Saint Francis for the enhancement of its Performing Arts Center at 431 W. Berry St., Fort Wayne, underscoring a long-term friendship between the university and the foundation’s creator.
The friendship—and the university’s gratitude—will be displayed when the building’s name is lettered as the Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center to proclaim the legacy to all.
The gift will be used to enhance the building’s performance in ways the university sees fit, to honor the purpose of the Goldstine Foundation: to make Allen County and Fort Wayne a better place to live and work, said Steve Wesner, president of the foundation’s board of trustees.
“Most people in Fort Wayne didn’t know of Bob’s philanthropy,” Wesner said. “He was very generous to the community and never would take any recognition. We thought it should be known because this is something that improves that part of downtown and draws people to it. It benefits our community and catapults it forward as the foundation intended.”
Robert Goldstine was a long-term benefactor and friend of the university. He was trustee emeritus for the board from 1975-2001, and emeritus member of the University Relations Committee from 1995-2001. He had supported the school financially since the mid-1970s, and was named to the university’s Seraph Society in recognition of his generous giving.
A longtime Realtor and Fort Wayne land developer, he was chairman of Joe Goldstine & Son Inc., a commercial and industrial real estate company founded by his grandfather at the turn of the century and now part of BND Commercial Real Estate. After his death in June 2001, the Robert Goldstine Foundation was established to honor his wish to continue his philanthropy.
He was involved in community development, and championed the salvation of historic structures such as the Embassy Theatre, slated for the wrecking ball in the early 1970s. “It was so important to the quality of life in Fort Wayne, and the Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center at the University of Saint Francis, the former Scottish Rite Center, is another such structure,” said Wesner, Goldstine’s long-time friend and associate. “It develops downtown rather than allowing it to deteriorate.”
The performing arts center joins the former Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce building, purchased and slated for renovation by the university as a downtown campus to house new academic programs, drive business creation, support a vibrant arts community and provide economic stimulus for the city.
“We are the fortunate beneficiaries of Robert Goldstine’s vision and generosity,” said university Vice President for Development, Dr. Matthew Smith. “When creativity and philanthropy pair for a long-term community improvement plan, an exciting momentum emerges. People take ownership, and the resulting energy moves the strategy forward for the betterment of everyone.”