New Jersey City University has received a $1 million gift for its arts programs from entrepreneur, philanthropist and real estate developer Robert Kaye, the school announced Monday.
The gift will be among the largest in the school’s history and becomes the second lead gift in NJCU’s $10 million campaign to develop its Center for Music, Dance and Theater and the Guarini Performing Arts Center as the pillars of University Place, a $400 million redevelopment of the institution’s West Campus.
NJCU will dedicate the center’s recital hall as the Robert M. Kaye Recital Hall in appreciation for his generosity to the institution.
Upon completion of the CMDT — the first of its kind in Hudson County — the project will include a performing arts center and world-class, 25,437-square-foot theatrical showplace, highlighted by a 492-seat theater and a 100-seat recital hall.
“It is my great honor to make this gift to New Jersey City University,” Kaye said. “As a supporter of the arts, I look forward to the opening of the Center for Music, Dance and Theater and its performing arts center and how it will further revitalize Jersey City’s West Side.”
Kaye is the founder, chairman and CEO of the PRC Group of Cos. He is recognized industrywide for his leadership and entrepreneurial vision.
He began his career in 1960 as a property manager, and gradually grew his company into one of the most diversified and respected real estate entities in the tri-state area. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Kaye is a licensed real estate broker and a certified property manager. He currently chairs legislative committees for community reinvestment as well as several philanthropic organizations.
The PRC Group has previously worked with the NJCU Foundation for the development of Fort Monmouth and CityLine West in a key public-private partnership in NJCU’s University Place development.
NJCU President Sue Henderson said the school is grateful for the genoristy.
“I am so grateful to Bob Kaye for his thoughtful gift in support of our Performing Arts Center,” she said. “The naming of the recital hall in his honor is so fitting and is a testament to his life’s work and his remarkable generosity.
“In many ways, his life’s work is emblematic of our entire university community. He started from very modest means, developing one building at a time, and, in time, created an amazing company. The arts later became a passion in his life. He is an inspiration to us all and his commitment to our university, our students and the future of our performing arts program is significant and graciously appreciated.”
Plans for the center have already led to a unique partnership between NJCU and the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School, which will move its operations from New York City to NJCU and, in partnership with the university, will offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, and a Joffrey certificate.
Upon completion, the Guarini Performing Arts Center will also include an orchestra pit and fly stage, two large dance studios for both rehearsal and performances, with exterior glass walls looking out to a large public plaza, performers’ dressing rooms, scenery fabrication shop and storage, grand lobby and special event space.
In May, 2020, NJCU received the largest gift in its history — $10 million — from former U.S. Rep. Frank J. Guarini, and the university previously announced it will name the performing arts center as the Guarini Performing Arts Center in his honor.