Dance receives $336,000 Endowment from Yunek Family


KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 20, 2018) — Kennesaw State University announced Thursday it has received a $336,000 donation to the Department of Dance in the College of the Arts.

The gift from Jay and Debra Yunek, the Pomare-Conner Memorial Endowed Fund for Dance, honors their late uncle, Glenn Conner, and his partner and dance choreographer Eleo Pomare. The funds will be used to promote or preserve Pomare’s legacy through the study and performance of his artistic works in the field of dance.

Pomare, who passed away in 2008, was known for developing innovative choreography that speaks to social inequality and injustice, according to Jay Yunek.

“The legacy that my uncle, Glenn Conner, would want is that his contribution ensures educational opportunities for KSU Dance students who are economically challenged and are interested in advancing the social concerns reflected in the works of his life partner, Eleo Pomare,” Jay Yunek said.

Jay Yunek with two dance students and President Whitten

“We are thrilled that KSU was selected to be the recipient of the Pomare-Conner fund, and we are so thankful for the support of our Department of Dance by the Yunek family,” said President Pamela Whitten in her first donor ceremony since becoming KSU’s president in July. “The innovative work of Glenn and Eleo will be continued for generations to come through our students.”

Ivan Pulinkala, Interim Dean of the College of the Arts and previous chair of the Department of Dance, said, “We are grateful to Debra and Jay Yunek for this generous gift that will artistically and academically support gifted dancers in the College of the Arts at KSU. The educational experience of our students will also be greatly impacted by the annual guest artist residencies that this gift will provide.”

The dance program began at KSU in 2005 and has flourished into the largest collegiate dance program in Georgia. The Dance Theater on the Marietta Campus, the performance home of KSU Dance, opened last year and is Atlanta’s first theater designed specifically for dance.

Photo by David Caselli