Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

2010 newsmakers: David A. Straz Jr.

Philanthropist of the Year David Straz saw his name brightening the Tampa skyline just as his $25 million donation brightened the future of the city's art scene.

The banker's gift to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, believed to be the largest ever to a bay area cultural institution, brought significant changes this year. From the name change — an electrifying sign proclaims the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts — to program and staff expansion, the impact will be felt for years to come.

"It's huge," said Bill Faucett, director of endowment and planned giving at the Straz Center. "As an unrestricted gift it can go to any and all of our areas, from building improvements to education."

Hiring the first chairman of the dance department is one example Faucett cited. Programming and the quality of artists booked will soar, he said.

Straz, an opera devotee, is pleased superstar Placido Domingo is coming in February. "I was at his 60th birthday party at the Met in New York a few years ago," he said.

Straz, 68, who has three honorary doctorates, bought his first bank at age 25 in Wisconsin. In 1980, he moved to Florida, where he bought and merged more banks, ultimately selling the combined operation to Fifth Third Bank.

Organizations dream of luring Straz and his wife, Catherine Lowry Straz, to their board of directors. In the past 10 years, David Straz served on at least 10. Catherine Straz currently presides over the Lowry Park Zoological Society.

Last month, Straz accepted a new role — treasurer of Dick Greco's mayoral campaign and co-chairman of the candidate's finance committee. Greco would not be the first politician to call on his strategic thinking. President George W. Bush named Straz honorary consulate general of the Republic of Liberia in 2003.

Amy Scherzer, Times staff writer

2010 newsmakers: David A. Straz Jr. 12/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.