Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Pieter and Lida Ouwehand receive 2016 Center for the Performing Arts Distinguished Service Award

Pieter and Lida Ouwehand are the 2016 recipients of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State Distinguished Service Award. The couple was honored at the center’s Curtain Call 2015–16 season celebration dinner Tuesday night at The Atherton Hotel in State College.

“They have committed themselves to supporting the mission of the center through their patronage, service and financial support,” said center Director George Trudeau. “Through my personal interactions with Pieter and Lida over the years, I know that this comes from their hearts, that they have a passion for the CPA and that this drives their keen interest in doing what they can to help.”

The Ouwehands have been involved with the arts in Centre County since moving to State College in 1994. They are regular attendees of performances presented by Penn State’s School of Music, Music at Penn’s Woods, Nittany Valley Symphony, the Center for the Performing Arts and its companion Classical Coffeehouse series.

The couple said they particularly enjoy the intimacy of the center’s coffeehouse programs featuring string ensembles such as Sybarite5 and Brooklyn Rider, both of which had residencies at Penn State in the last year.

“The artists who do (the coffeehouse events), they are the people who tend to be a little more extrovert. ... It’s not the group or the soloist who flies in at 3 p.m. and takes the last flight out and goes home,” Pieter said. “It’s a wonderful event. We love it.”

His career as a chemical engineer with Merck & Co. Inc. took husband and wife to Rahway, New Jersey, where they raised their daughters Johanna and Annemarie. He relocated the family to Puerto Rico for a 17-year stint before returning to New Jersey and finalizing his plan to retire in Centre County. Lida works with various agencies translating English into Dutch.

The Ouwehands are Director’s Circle-level members of the Center for the Performing Arts and members of the Nittany Valley Symphony Guild. In June, Pieter will complete his second three-year term on the center’s Community Advisory Council. He also is a member of the Music at Penn’s Woods Advisory Council, and he volunteers with Special Olympics and Meals on Wheels.

The couple recently used an IRA qualified charitable distribution to immediately support the Pieter and Lida Ouwehand Endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts. The endowment will be used to fund classical music programs and activities. They also fund trustee scholarships in Penn State’s School of Music and engineering and liberal arts colleges.

The Distinguished Service Award has been given annually since 1996.