Magill credited the comprehensive Lab+ Campaign with making possible the building of Earl Shapiro Hall, a key addition to Lab’s outstanding early childhood education program; the renovation of buildings on Lab’s historic campus, including the expansion of library space and other core educational needs; and enhanced professional development for faculty and financial aid for families.
The Gordon Parks Arts Hall will be one of the most impressive legacies of the campaign. A three-story, 86,000 square-foot building, the Gordon Parks Arts Hall will offer a combination lobby and art gallery, a 700-seat assembly and musical performance auditorium, a 250-seat theater, a 150-seat drama studio, four art studios, a digital media and photographer lab, large musical rehearsal spaces, practice rooms, a theater scenery shop, a costume shop and affiliated administrative space.
In 2011 the Laboratory Schools announced that the 250-seat space would be named the Sherry Lansing Theater, in honor of the pioneering film executive and 1962 graduate of the Laboratory Schools, who donated $5 million to the campaign. The entry and gallery will be named the John Rogers and Victoria Rogers Lobby, in honor of John W. Rogers Jr., who was also one of the Lab+ Campaign co-chairs, and his daughter, a Laboratory Schools graduate.
John Dewey, the University of Chicago professor and seminal educational theorist whose ideas still shape the experience-centered Laboratory Schools education, called art the most effective mode of communication that exists. He believed every person is an artist at some level, and put art at the center of his educational program—as both a vehicle for moral purpose and path to the highest human qualities.
George Lucas, president of the George Lucas Family Foundation, is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of our time. Best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, along with other iconic films such as American Graffiti, Lucas is a writer, producer, director, businessman and philanthropist. In addition to the family foundation, he also created the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and is a participant with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in “The Giving Pledge,” encouraging high-level philanthropy.
Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based investment firm serving individual and institutional investors. Ariel was the first minority-owned money management firm in the nation and currently has $9 billion in assets under management.
Hobson also serves as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust and chairman of the board of directors for DreamWorks Animation SKG. Beyond her work at Ariel, Hobson sits on a number of corporate boards, and has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. As a philanthropist, she serves on the boards of many leading educational and civic organizations. She married Lucas in 2013.