The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPage capped this month’s Grand Opening MAC Madness Celebration Benefit with an announcement that the newly renovated 800-seat Performance Hall will be renamed in honor of alumni John and Jim Belushi.
The announcement was made by COD President Dr. Robert L. Breuder (pictured left) following the 7 p.m. benefit performance of Jim Belushi and the Board of Comedy.
“Jim, on behalf of the College of DuPage and the residents of this community, I am proud to welcome you back home,” Dr. Breuder said. “Through your generosity, you have changed lives of the students in this community. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board of Directors, we are honored to name this stage the ‘Belushi Performance Hall’ in memory of your brother John and in recognition of your many achievements.”
Born and raised in Wheaton, Jim Belushi graduated with an associate degree from COD in 1974 and credits the College for having a major impact on his life. While attending COD, he was also a student trustee and later became an outstanding Community College Alum for the college, state and country.
In 1983, in association with The Second City, Jim created The John Belushi Scholarship Fund to honor the name and memory of his brother and fellow COD alum John. This scholarship provides recipients with full tuition and fees at College of DuPage, and is available to acting and technical theater students as well as music students. Since its inception, more than $120,000 in scholarships have gone to fund the dreams of more than 75 students.
“I’ve never really had anything like this,” Belushi said. “For an improviser, I have nothing to say. It’s sweet, thoughtful, generous and kind and that’s what I’ve always received at College of DuPage. Thank you for honoring me and my family and my brother. It’s really cool.”
More than $330,000 has been donated or raised by Jim Belushi over the years in memory of John for student scholarships and MAC programs, and an additional nearly $393,200 was raised through the MAC’s Grand Opening MAC Madness Celebration Benefit on March 8. Jim Belushi also established the Belushi Artist-in-Residence Fund that provides funds to pay for artists’ extended stays on campus to teach and work with students.
The McAninch Arts Center on the campus of College of DuPage, (425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn) is located 25 miles west of Chicago. The facility houses three performance spaces (the 800-seat proscenium newly named Belushi Performance Hall; the 184-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile 70-seat black box Studio Theatre), as well as the new Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the College’s academic programming and the 1,200 capacity outdoor Patio Stage.
This unique facility has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons annually from the greater Chicago area.
The MAC began a 14-month, $35 million renovation in fall 2012 to update its three performance spaces, construct a new art gallery and outdoor patio stage, and make improvements to the infrastructure, teaching and learning spaces and patron service areas.
The MAC renovation was funded as part of the $168 million referendum that voters of District 502 passed in November 2010. The MAC completed its renovation in December 2013 and officially opened its doors to the public with a series of 2014 Grand Opening Events with the MAC Madness Celebration on March 8. For more information about the MAC visit www.AtTheMAC.org.
–News Bulletin news sources