The Governor and Mrs. Rockefeller at SPAC’s dedication, June 16, 1966University at Albany President Robert Jones and Anthony Ianniello, Esq. Join SPAC Board

Saratoga Springs, N.Y. - New York State's former First Lady, Margaretta "Happy" Rockefeller, will serve as the Honorary Chairperson for Saratoga Performing Arts Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2016. The news was announced today by SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White during her annual address to the organization's membership. White expressed her gratitude to Mrs. Rockefeller, who served as SPAC's Chairman of the Board from 1966 to 1973, for her leadership during SPAC's formative years, which she said, "set the stage for excellence and helped establish SPAC as one of America's premier summer performing arts festivals."

"From the beginning, SPAC has benefitted from the vision and leadership of an incredibly dedicated group of individuals," said Ms. White. "One of its staunchest supporters was Governor Rockefeller whose enthusiasm for the project and financial support were decisive factors in SPAC's founding. Equally passionate was Mrs. Rockefeller who generously took on the role of Board Chair to help successfully establish SPAC in those early years."

"Our 50th Anniversary will be an opportunity to honor the Rockefeller family and all of the founders, including our artistic partners, who transformed dreams into reality," she added. "We are thrilled and grateful that Mrs. Rockefeller will serve as Honorary Chair of this celebration; her participation underscores the wide ranging support that made SPAC possible in 1966 and that still makes it possible today."

"The Governor and I were both lifelong supporters of the arts. Yet, the establishment of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center stands out as one of the most exciting and gratifying performing arts projects we were involved with; the scope of the community's dedication was absolutely above and beyond," said Mrs. Rockefeller. "It has been rewarding to see SPAC grow and thrive over the years and I look forward to my role as Honorary Chair for the 50th Anniversary."

Nelson A. Rockefeller, Governor of New York State from 1959 to 1973, was a key supporter of the proposal to create SPAC. Vital contributions totaling approximately $1.6 million dollars were made by the Governor, other members of the Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Foundation. At the opening night of The Philadelphia Orchestra's first SPAC season on August 4, 1966, the Governor praised the occasion as "...the most exciting moment in the eight years I've been Governor." Mrs. Rockefeller was elected SPAC's first Chairman of the Board, serving from 1966 to 1973 and from 1973 to 1978 as Honorary Chair.

More details on SPAC's 50th Anniversary will be announced in 2015.

SPAC Welcomes Two New Board Members

Anthony R. Ianniello, Esq. of Saratoga Springs, and University at Albany President Robert J. Jones, Ph.D. of Albany were confirmed for three-year terms to SPAC's Board of Directors. Ms. White praised the two new directors noting that, "SPAC is at a pivotal time as it nears the 50-year mark. Decisive and accomplished leaders, Tony Ianniello and President Jones each have a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be valuable as the Board develops a course for the future." The addition of Mr. Ianniello and Dr. Jones brings the total number of directors on SPAC's Board to 27.

Anthony R. Ianniello is the senior partner in Ianniello Anderson, P.C. law firm, founded in 1971 by Mr. Ianniello. The firm concentrates its practice in the area of real estate law representing mortgage lenders, builders, developers as well as purchasers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. The firm has offices in Albany, Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls, NY. Mr. Ianniello is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum where he has led an expansion in the museum's exhibits, fundraising events and capital renovations. He is a member of the New York Bar Association, the American Bar Association as well as a fellow to the New York State Bar Foundation, a charitable organization.

Dr. Robert Jones is the 19th President of the University at Albany, a position he assumed in January 2013. Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise in numerous fields, including urban and international development. President Jones currently serves as Regional Council Co-Chair for the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC). Dr. Jones was a member of the Grammy winning ensemble Sounds of Blackness, an internationally recognized choral group that sings gospel, soul and R&B.

Several SPAC directors were re-elected to the Board including Meyer S. Frucher, Julie S. Fuller, Edward J. Lewi, Heather Mabee, I. Norman Massry, Norma Meacham, Susan Phillips Read and Ronald Riggi.

Information on SPAC's 2014 Season is available at or by calling, 518-584-9330.


About Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, located in the historic resort town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, has established a reputation as one of America's most prestigious summer festivals. Its tranquil setting in a 2,400-acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers, and natural mineral springs draws vacation crowds and arts connoisseurs each year to its summer programming, which includes summer residencies by New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The 2014 summer season will also include engagements by the Bolshoi Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and MOMIX, concerts by Live Nation and productions by Opera Saratoga. The final curtain of the SPAC season comes down in early September with the annual Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, one of the fastest-growing wine and food events in the nation. Information and tickets are available at  

Lisa Hill, 518.584.9330 x 119