Melissa McCarthy makes gift to performing arts center at Auburn University

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The latest gift to the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University came Monday from Hollywood stars Melissa McCarthy and her husband, director Ben Falcone, with a matching gift from Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema on behalf of their upcoming film “Life of the Party.”

McCarthy and Falcone, who made a stop at Auburn University while in town for the premiere of her upcoming film, “Life of the Party,” gave a $25,000 gift to the performing arts center for the naming of the stage door. Warner Bros. and New Line matched the donation for a total $50,000 gift that was presented to Jane DiFolco Parker, Auburn University vice president for Development and president of the Auburn University Foundation.

“We are extremely grateful to Melissa and Ben, as well as Warner Bros. and New Line, for their recognition of Auburn’s dedication to advancing the arts,” Parker said. “This gift will embolden Auburn’s efforts to make this a world-class facility for our students and our community.”

McCarthy said she appreciates Auburn’s commitment to the arts, adding that today’s gift to the Gogue Center was a way to “return the favor” as students learn more about the arts.

“There are so many areas in (the field of arts), and it’s so important we support that creativity,” McCarthy said. “So, it was really a pleasure, and Warner Bros. and New Line were so generous to go in on it with us.”

The couple wanted to get involved when they learned of a new arts district being developed on campus as a result of construction of the performing arts center. “Melissa and I decided we wanted to make a donation and the Studio was kind enough to match it,” Falcone said.

The 85,000-square-foot Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center will include a 1,200-seat main performance hall, an open lobby, and a porch and lawn that will serve as an additional performance venue. It is slated to open in fall 2019.

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