Award-winning Actor and USM alum Tony Shalhoub ’77 Named Honorary Chair of the Center for the Arts Campaign

The announcement included news of a $500,000 2:1 Matching Gift Challenge from the Crewe Foundation to support the Center for the Arts initiative

Watch the full press conference with Tony Shalhoub.

On Thursday, January 26, the University of Southern Maine (USM) Foundation announced that actor and USM alum Tony Shalhoub ’77, has been named honorary chair of the USM Center for the Arts campaign. The Center for the Arts, to be located on USM’s Portland campus, is the centerpiece of the university’s Great University Campaign, the largest fundraising initiative in USM history.

Tony Shalhoub announces his role as honorary chairman of the USM Center for the Arts campaign.
Shalhoub pledged a gift of $150,000 to the fundraising campaign.

During the press conference, Shalhoub announced a $500,000 matching gift challenge for the Center for the Arts, offered by the Crewe Foundation. For every $2 raised, the Crewe Foundation will make a $1 matching gift, adding momentum to an effort that has already seen tremendous support from the community. Now in its third and final year, USM’s Great University Campaign has raised $44.5 million to date and expects to exceed its $46 million goal.

“We are thrilled to have Tony Shalhoub, one of our own, as our honorary chair of the Center for the Arts campaign, helping us successfully complete this historic fundraising effort,” said Dr. Jacqueline Edmondson, president of USM. “With Tony at the helm, fueled by the Crewe Foundation’s incredibly generous matching gift challenge, we expect to surge past the finish line this spring, and, with approval from the Board of Trustees, we expect to soon break ground on an extraordinary new home for music and the arts at USM.”

University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy, underscored the impact of this new facility, stating, “This is an investment in the future of Maine, strengthening academic programs, fueling enrollment, and contributing to a thriving creative economy.”

Dan Crewe, Tony Shalhoub, President Jacqueline Edmondson, and Chancellor Dannel Malloy partner to advance the USM Center for the Arts campaign.
Left to right: Dan Crewe, Tony Shalhoub, President Jacqueline Edmondson, and Chancellor Dannel Malloy.

Recalling his own years as an undergrad in the mid-seventies, Shalhoub commented, “Being able to work so closely with dedicated professors and mentors in USM’s Theatre Department allowed me to discover my own potential and passion for acting––and helped me go further than I ever imagined. Building a new Center for the Arts on USM’s Portland campus will help ensure that today’s talented students will discover their own greatness, too.”

The Crewe Foundation, led by Dan Crewe and his daughter Reid Crewe, has been an early and sustained supporter of the Center for the Arts project. The just-announced $500,000 matching gift challenge comes in addition to $6,000,000 in philanthropic contributions from the Crewe Foundation over the past two years, helping to catalyze momentum and additional support for the new Center.

Inspired by the generosity and commitment of the Crewe Foundation, Shalhoub announced his own gift of $150,000 as part of the Crewe matching gift challenge, stating “I’m going to be the first one in.”

Shalhoub is an award-winning performer with multiple stage, screen, and television roles to his credit. His accolades include five Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, six Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Tony Award, and a Grammy Award nomination.

Angela Byrnes and Tony Shalhoub perform a scene from the 1976 student production of "Desire Under the Elms." (Courtesy: The Free Press)
Angela Byrnes and Tony Shalhoub perform a scene from the 1976 student production of “Desire Under the Elms.” (Courtesy: The Free Press)

Considered one of America’s foremost character actors, he won a Tony in 2018 for best lead actor in a Broadway musical for his role in “The Band’s Visit.” He is also a cast member in the acclaimed TV production of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which has earned two Golden Globes and five Primetime Emmy Awards. He is also well known for his starring role in the hit television series Monk, which earned him a Golden Globe and three Emmys.

A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Shalhoub first studied acting at the University of Southern Maine, where he graduated with a theatre degree in 1977. He went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the highly competitive Yale School of Drama. Afterwards he spent four years at the prestigious American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., before moving to New York, where his acting career took off with early and sustained success on Broadway, in films, and on television.

In 2003, he returned to USM to give the commencement address and receive a Distinguished Achievement award. He served as a USM Foundation Board member and made a significant philanthropic contribution to Transforming USM: The Capital Campaign (TUSM) in 2006.

Tony Shalhoub talks with the media after announcing his role as honorary chairman of the USM Center for the Arts campaign.
Local media lined up to talk to Shalhoub after his announcement.

As Honorary Chair of USM’s Center for the Arts campaign, he will help bring to fruition a long-dreamed-of performing and visual arts center on USM’s Portland campus, the new home of the renowned Dr. Alfred and D. Suzi Osher School of Music. USM expects to break ground on the new Center next fall, pending approvals from the University of Maine System Board of Trustees as well as the City of Portland.

Ainsley Wallace, President and CEO of the USM Foundation, said, “At every turn, the Crewe Foundation has helped to ensure that a decades-long dream of a Center for the Arts becomes a reality—and at every turn, dedicated friends and alumni, like Tony Shalhoub, have made this project the best it can be. The new Center will be the crown jewel of the USM Portland campus. It will include state-of-the-art spaces for the arts, from music, dance, and theater to visual arts and create new opportunities for interdisciplinary exhibitions and performances.”

Dan Crewe is the Chair of USM’s Great University Campaign and Chair of the USM Foundation Board of Directors.

To learn more about the Great University Campaign and the future USM Center for the Arts, visit:

Theatre students talk shop with Tony Shalhoub. (Courtesy: Will Wohler)
Theatre students talk shop with Tony Shalhoub. (Courtesy: Will Wohler)

About the Crewe Foundation

Founded in 2009, the Crewe Foundation was created by Dan and Bob Crewe to support the arts and LGBTQ communities in Maine. Bob Crewe was a prolific songwriter, best known for his work with The Four Seasons. His life and musical influence were featured prominently in the 2005 Broadway show and film “Jersey Boys.”  It was Bob’s wish that the Foundation provide support in the fields of fine arts and music by empowering aspiring artists and underserved youth to pursue, develop and realize their talents and goals. Today, the Crewe Foundation is co-led by Dan Crewe and his daughter, Reid Crewe.

About the University of Southern Maine (USM) Foundation

The USM Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with the University to support the aspirations of our students and the strategic vision of USM. Now in our third decade of service, the Foundation is raising the critical funds needed to support scholarships and achieve ambitious goals, as we help to catalyze transformation at the University of Southern Maine.