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Osterhouts’ second million-dollar gift supports Anderson center

By : Katie Ellis

Ray Osterhout speaks to the crowd at the naming of the Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts last week after he and his wife, Wanda, provided a $1 million endowment in support of the center.
Ray and Wanda Osterhout have given $2 million to Binghamton University — one million each to two very different programs since December.

Last week before a crowd of nearly 200, President Lois B. DeFleur announced the naming of the Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center for the Performing Arts after the Osterhouts provided a $1 million endowment in support of the center. Through a $1 million endowment announced in December, the Ray and Wanda Osterhout Distinguished Professorship in Entrepreneurship was established to support the continued growth of one of the School of Management’s most innovative new programs.

Ray Osterhout, retired group vice president and underwriting and marketing manager for Swiss Reinsurance Corp., the world’s second largest reinsurance firm, said the gifts were made for three reasons: “We wanted to, we could and it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

DeFleur said this most recent gift will help the Anderson Center continue its outstanding programming. “This gift demonstrates the Osterhouts’ caring and will help the University support the gifts of music, theater, and other arts for students, faculty and staff, as well as community members for generations to come,” she said. “This support will help us continue to bring the world’s best performers to what is already an internationally renowned stage.”

The Anderson Center opened in 1986 with a performance by the Central Ballet of China, and has hosted performances from 26 countries and every continent except Antarctica. The New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the Royal Philharmonic of London, the Israel Philharmonic, Korea’s Universal Ballet and the Russian State Opera from Siberia have all performed on its stage.

Osterhout’s gift will help maintain the high integrity of the Anderson Center’s technical equipment, as well as the high caliber of performances, said Floyd Herzog, director of the Anderson Center. “Artistically, this gift will help us continue bringing the finest artists from around the world to the Osterhout Concert Theater stage,” Herzog said. “It will have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of people — not only on the University campus, but in the community at large.”

“My wife and I attended a performance at the Anderson Center recently, and I was very impressed that I was at such a facility in Binghamton,” Osterhout said. “We saw how beautiful it was and we saw a need, so we decided to give this second gift to the University.”

“We appreciate this extraordinary gift, which further demonstrates the commitment of Ray and Wanda Osterhout to the enhancement of the Greater Binghamton Community through their support for what they believe is the community’s strongest asset — Binghamton University,” said Thomas Kelly, vice president for external affairs.

The Osterhouts have close ties to the community; they both graduated from high school in Windsor. They married while Ray attended Syracuse University on a full scholarship. His talent in cross-country running led to a series of collegiate records and prestigious individual and team championships.

Osterhout then completed a five-year Chartered Property-Casualty Underwriter certification program at Bryn Mawr College. After working with a New York-based company for several years, he and a partner launched their own reinsurance firm for a time. Then, while working for Swiss Reinsurance, Osterhout invested in a private insurance start-up based in Nashville, Tenn. The company recently enjoyed a highly successful IPO. Osterhout now serves on its board of directors and chairs several of the board’s committees.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08