Donna Ritchie portrait

Donor Shares Her Love of SOU and the Arts

Donna Ritchie’s joyful love of her community and her delight in regional arts and education are reflected in her generous support of local theater, music organizations, and Southern Oregon University. The avid traveler and former New Yorker has made Ashland her home for the past 21 years. In that time, she has celebrated and supported the very things that drew her to the region in the first place.

This past year Donna created a scholarship endowment to honor her late husband. She also adjusted her estate plans to include a gift to Chamber Music Concerts upon her death. CMC is affiliated with SOU and brings world-class chamber music to the Rogue Valley. “SOU has wonderful music and theater events, and I like that most everyone can access them and enjoy them,” she said.

The new Arthur B. Levis Scholarship will support SOU students who major in communication. “Art was a journalist in New York City. He studied journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder.” she said. “I wanted to do something appropriate. I thought journalism and writing—that’s perfect—so I donated to his alma mater and to a school in a town that is very important to me.”

Donna has spent her life championing education and sharing her love of music and theater. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State and a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City. One of her first jobs was at a video company in New York. “I was ‘the girl,’” she said. “Back then ‘the girls’ answered phones and set up lunch for the men. We didn’t get to go to those lunches.”

Thirty years later, Donna was the CEO of that company.

In New York, she and Art were supporters of arts and culture organizations. After Art passed away Donna decided to make Ashland her new home after a road trip to visit Crater Lake.

Donna said she is delighted to help support the things that have brought her so much happiness, and she urged others to give to what they love, regardless of the amount.

“I have never run into an organization that wasn’t thrilled to receive support, whether it is ten dollars, a hundred dollars, or one-hundred-thousand,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what you give, it matters that you offer support if you can. It’s the support that’s most meaningful.”