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Gift Support Enables OWU to Purchase Strand Theatre

July 11, 2002

[ Strand Theatre Photo ]DELAWARE, OHIO -- Ohio Wesleyan University has agreed to terms that will allow it to purchase the Strand Theatre, Delaware's classic community movie theatre, in a move that will further enhance the unique partnership involving Ohio Wesleyan and the surrounding Delaware community. When current Strand proprietors Cathy and Jerry Amato announced last fall that the theatre was up for sale, it fueled speculation within the community concerning the future -- and possible demise -- of the theatre.

Two separate gifts from unrelated donors have made this project possible. The donors each wished to strengthen Ohio Wesleyan's role in the revitalization of both the Strand and downtown Delaware.

Delaware attorney and Ohio Wesleyan alumnus Peter Manos '47, who donated the building, has long envisioned enriching the performing arts in the city. Gift money from a donor who prefers not to be identified at this time will cover the purchase of the Strand business from the Amatos and provide funds to support operational and program improvements for the theatre.

"This opportunity will result in an even stronger collaborative relationship between OWU and Delaware," said Ohio Wesleyan President Thomas B. Courtice. "We can play a role in improving the quality of life in the campus and surrounding communities, while also enriching the University's curriculum and co-curriculum."

Kara McVay, a long-time employee and passionate supporter of the Strand, has been hired as the theatre's manager. She will direct the Strand operations under Ohio Wesleyan's ownership.

McVay worked closely for many years with the Strand's former owners, George and Cindy Johnson, observing and learning about the movie theatre business -- everything from selling tickets to painting and plastering walls, to projecting film and fixing film breaks.

"I can see encouraging ballets, community plays, and musical events at the Strand," she said, also mentioning the continuance of OWU's impressive film series. "Anything we can do to bring more people downtown is worth doing."

McVay will work with an advisory board consisting of OWU professors, administrators, and students, to maximize the impact of Strand programming on the campus and community.

"This project enables Ohio Wesleyan to take a leadership role in enhancing not only OWU's program, but the larger Delaware community," said Courtice. "It is a 'win-win' situation for all."