The Valley Performing Arts Center, a 1,700-seat venue located on the campus of California State University Northridge, has been renamed the “Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts” in recognition of a $17 million gift from the Nazarian family.
“Through this historic and transformational gift, Younes and Soraya Nazarian are investing in the elevating power of the arts,” CSUN President Dr. Dianne Harrison said in a statement. “The Nazarian family has made a profound and lasting impact on CSUN and the entire region.”
The money will be used to support programming and operations at the center, which will open its seventh season in September. The venue’s new name will be shortened to “the Soraya” in honor of Soraya Nazarian, the Nazarian family matriarch and a renowned sculptor. Soraya Nazarian recently completed and donated to CSUN a sculpture titled “Unbound.”
“My wife’s name, Soraya, means jewel, and this center is a jewel as well,” Younes Nazarian said in a statement. “It is very fitting that her name will grace this building that is itself beautiful and contains such artistic beauty onstage.”
The gift is the Nazarian family’s second major donation to CSUN since 2014, when David Nazarian, the son of Younes and Soraya Nazarian and a CSUN alumnus, donated $10 million to kick off a $25 million fundraising drive for the institution. The David Nazarian College of Business and Economics is named in his honor.