First Bank & Trust gift to USD’s College of Fine Arts to benefit several programs, increase scholarship opportunities for students

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A generous contribution from First Bank & Trust in Vermillion, through the Fishback Financial Corporation Community Fund, will provide more than $200,000 in financial support to the College of Fine Arts at The University of South Dakota.

"A contribution of this magnitude impacts every aspect of our college," admitted Dan Guyette, dean of the College of Fine Arts. "We are humbled by First Bank & Trust’s generosity and grateful for their support of the arts at USD."

Over the course of the next five years, First Bank & Trust is donating $30,000 a year to the College of Fine Arts to be used for scholarships, special events and guest artists. An additional $10,000 annually is possible through a challenge grant established on the condition that the $10,000 in matching donations are raised and used for technology and equipment improvements.

"Over the 12 years I have been in Vermillion, I have developed several relationships with people associated with USD’s College of Fine Arts," said Tom Schaack, community bank president, First Bank & Trust. "They are sincere and passionate about developing a love for the arts in others. Fortunately, the Fishback family has the desire to assist in funding the arts at USD with confidence that Dan and his staff will now have better tools to educate and promote the arts."

The College of Fine Arts is excited to promote a series of children’s theatre productions beginning in January 2009 for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The first production, according to Guyette, will include six shows over two days as well as free admission for the children as a result of this gift.

"Gifts like this are necessary to ensure that people can continue to enjoy and appreciate the arts in all its many forms," noted Tom Fishback, retail banking officer and a member of the Fishback family who is contributing financial support to USD through the Fishback Financial Corporation Community Fund. "When the bank was asked to help, we found that the College of Fine Arts had identifiable needs and that our financial contribution could make a big difference. It is our hope now that people will want to come look at the beautiful and compelling art that is being created right here in town."

Supporting education locally whether it’s the arts, athletics or business programs at USD is significant, Schaack said, but not surprising because of that’s the nature of the Vermillion community.

"First Bank & Trust is just one of many businesses in the Vermillion area that supports education, the arts, athletics and many other worthy organizations," added Schaack. "That is truly a special characteristic of this community."