Interlochen Center for the Arts recently received a $2 million gift from the Corson Family of Middlebury, Indiana and Naples, Florida to create a new waterfront park on Green Lake, at the core of Interlochen’s historic campus.
The gift comes from the Estate of Dorthy S. Corson, Thomas H. Corson, Jim and Claire (Corson) Skinner, and the Corson Family Foundation, to honor the memory of the recently deceased Dorthy S. “Dot” Corson, Mr. Corson’s wife and Ms. Skinner’s mother.
The new park will revitalize the public areas adjacent to the Stone Hotel and Kresge Auditorium, and will enhance the shoreline northwest to the dance facility. Plans provide for barrier free access to the beach and waterfront, scenic overlooks, remodeled historic buildings, a promenade with lighted walkways, seating and garden areas, and a new lakeside café. Another part of the gift will also help Interlochen construct a much-needed music building on campus.
The Corson family has a long history of involvement and support of Interlochen. Thomas H. Corson served as an Interlochen Trustee from 1973 to 1997 and was elected a Life Trustee in 2006. He and his wife, Dorthy, became involved after their daughter Claire Corson Skinner attended Interlochen Arts Camp in 1971. In addition to annual gifts for endowment and scholarship, the family also funded the landmark Corson Auditorium, which is still the premier performance center for Interlochen and the Traverse City area.
“Interlochen has enriched our lives, as well as so many others—students, alumni, staff and guests,” said Thomas H. Corson. “We are very grateful to be able to honor Dot’s memory and her wishes with a gift that can be shared with the entire Interlochen community for years to come.”
The intention of the Corsons’ most recent gift is “to create a place where everyone can appreciate the natural beauty of the Interlochen campus, listening to music while looking over the lake, just as Dot Corson did on her many visits to Interlochen,” says Interlochen President Jeffrey Kimpton. “This improved lakeshore park will not just be for our students, parents, staff and faculty, but for all our guests, patrons and visitors. This project will make the lakefront more inviting, accessible and beautiful and will enhance the enjoyment of the stunning natural beauty we have here on the Interlochen campus.”