November 21, 2023, Charlottetown, PE – Thanks to the generosity of the R. Howard Webster Foundation, performing arts students at Holland College will have access to new technology in the Florence Simmons Performance Hall and a specialized mentorship program that will enrich their skills and training in the field.

“One of the sectors in Atlantic Canada that has been an important driver of economic hope and opportunity is the performing arts,” said Campbell Webster, a board member for the R. Howard Webster Foundation and a champion for the arts and education in the region. “The live musical and performing arts are everywhere in Atlantic Canada, and Holland College’s School of Performing Arts is an important contributor to the industry’s continued success and growth. We are pleased that this gift will enhance the opportunities for skills development that are available to students aspiring to professional careers in the performing arts.”

Since the establishment of the School of Performing Arts in 2011, Holland College has been providing programming for aspiring performing artists. Students train and perform in the college’s 303-seat Florence Simmons Performance Hall, which will benefit from new technology through the R. Howard Webster Foundation gift, and the SoPA Garage, a rehearsal space and recording studio that is currently undergoing an expansion. More than 250 students have come through SoPA’s doors since that time, and many of whom are now working professionally in the performing arts industry. Some have furthered their education through degree pathway agreements the college has with partner institutions in Canada and the U.S., and others have gone on to be featured at East Coast Music Awards, PEI Music Awards, and have toured internationally.

Liam Corcoran, Program Manager responsible for the School of Performing Arts, noted that the mentorship program will provide an opportunity for students to further their skill sets in aspects of the industry that they have a particular interest in.

“Through funding provided by the R. Howard Webster Foundation, six to eight Music Performance students per year will benefit through industry mentorship in one of two unique steams: the sound, lighting, and technical aspects of production, or the business and promotion aspect of the performing arts. These specialized skill development opportunities will not only benefit the students who participate, they will benefit the performing arts industry as a whole.”

“We are grateful to the R. Howard Webster Foundation for its generous investment in our students and our learning environments,” said Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald, President of Holland College. “This gift will significantly enhance the opportunities available to students who are richly gifted in the performing arts, thereby benefiting our region creatively, socially, economically, and educationally.”

The specialty mentorship programs will be developed over the coming months and will be ready for launch in the fall of 2024.

To learn more about making a gift benefiting Holland College and its students, contact the Holland College Foundation at, (902) 566-9582, or visit




President Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald, second left, accepts a cheque on behalf of the R. Howard Webster Foundation from Campbell Webster, second right. Looking on are Liam Corcoran (left), Program Manager for the School of Performing Arts, and Jo-Ann Campbell-Boutilier (right), Executive Director of the Holland College Foundation.