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Alumnus philanthropist helps school build new auditorium and give Indigenous scholarship

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In its 90th anniversary year, Canberra Grammar School (CGS) announced the construction of a new Auditorium, Centre for Music and Centre for Learning and library at the very heart of its campus.

The construction was made possible by a gift from former CGS student, Terry Snow, to advance the School’s long term development plan in recognising the central importance of music, research and reading in education.  This aims to strengthen the School’s core aspiration to educate students who are curious, creative, confident and compassionate young citizens of the world.

In addition to Snow’s contribution towards musical excellence at the School, the gift also comes with a very significant commitment to the School’s new Indigenous scholarship and education programmes, as well as to professional learning, substantially enhancing the School’s capacity to deliver on its commitment to educational leadership in Australia.

The Head of Canberra Grammar School, Dr Justin Garrick, said ‘supported by an extraordinary gift from Terry Snow, this superb new complex will transform the face and the future of our School. It will place mature, independent and guided study, along with the artistic, spiritual and intellectual endeavour that is music, right at the forefront of our educational experience. It is the continuation and fulfilment of our School’s fundamental holistic tradition.’

The gift of $20 million from CGS Alumnus, philanthropist, entrepreneur and Patron of the CGS Foundation, Terry Snow AM, is one of the largest endowments to a school in Australian history. It follows Snow’s $8 million gift of The Snow Centre for Education in the Asian Century to Canberra Grammar School in 2014-2015.

With over 100 curricular music classes conducted weekly across the Primary and Seniors School and hundreds of individual instrumental tuition lessons supporting more than 30 ensembles, bands, orchestras and choirs, there has long been a need for teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces to better accommodate the passion and dedication of hundreds of young musicians learning at the School every week.

Architecturally designed to honour the existing Breezeway and forecourt to the School’s heritage Quadrangle, the complex will include a modern library, a formal entry way and a new assembly and concert hall on the site envisaged by the School’s earliest plans for its most important meeting place. The complex will look both inward to the heritage elegance of the Quadrangle and outward over the spectacular view of the Main Oval.

Mr Snow’s exceptional gift will accelerate the School over more than a decade of development, benefiting thousands of current and future students, staff members and families. It will place music at the centre of the School’s educational life, and it will emphasise the centrality of learning, research and study in the most beautiful location on campus’, said Dr Garrick. 

He continues the Auditorium and Centre for Music will give not just the School, but the Canberra community, an outstanding learning facility, meeting space, concert hall and community resource for music that will make the School more intrinsic than ever to the educational and cultural life of Australia’s capital.

Snow said ‘music in many ways is the pinnacle of the arts because of the skill, commitment and dedication that’s required to make it, and I admire everyone who can play music. Music is also very educational; it enhances discipline and can be very satisfying, and I fully get what the school is trying to do in promoting music.’

The CGS Centre for Music and Terry Snow Auditorium will begin construction in late 2019, and continue through 2020, with the opening planned for 2021.

Canberra Grammar School is a co-educational independent Anglican school that welcomes students of all backgrounds, cultures and faiths. The School offers outstanding academic education, co-curricular opportunities and pastoral care to day and boarding students.

 Terry Snow AM attended Canberra Grammar School from 1953 to 1961. In his time at the School, he was distinguished as an athlete and was a house prefect in his final year. He has remained an active member of the CGS community throughout his life.  His brother, his children and grandchildren have attended the School. He is a former President of the School’s Old Boys Union (CGS Alumni) and was a member of the School Board from 1978 to 1986.  He is also Patron of the CGS Foundation.

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