Friday, February 18, 2011

Atlanta Opera Receives $9 Million Bequest From Barbara D. Stewart

Georgia's largest opera company is set to receive a $9 million donation from longtime board member Barbara D. Stewart who passed away on December 27, 2010, of lung cancer. Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America, said that is one of the largest gifts on record an a North American company. Half of the money will go into the company's permanent endowment fund and the other half will help used for reserves. In her honor, Atlanta Opera plans to dedicate one opera each year to her memory. Barbara Stewart was born March 29, 1943, in Pittsburgh, PA. She graduated summa cum laude in 1965 from Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration and then studied economics at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of New York University. After professional positions of economic research and analyses of insurance markets, she started her own consulting firm in 1981 that specialized in the insurance business. She was a Director on several boards and authored several papers on the property-casualty insurance business. She loved to travel (Southeast Asia, China, Tibet, India, Canada and New Zealand) and supported the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as well as local chamber groups. She was a major supporter of the Atlanta Opera and held the positions of Treasurer, Vice President and President on the board. Upon passing away, she did not want a memorial service to be held and was cremated. She requested that any memorial contributions be made to The Atlanta Opera. [Source, Source, Source, Source]