Albany State refunds $3M Ray Charles' donation

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2004: The biopic "Ray," starring Jamie Foxx as R&B musician Ray Charles, premieres in theaters. Foxx would go on to win an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charles, who died of liver disease in June 2004.

ALBANY, Ga. - Albany State University has refunded a $3 million donation from the Ray Charles Foundation after failing to construct a performing arts center the money was meant to be used for.

The Albany Herald reports the Ray Charles Foundation went to the Georgia Attorney General's Office for help to reclaim the money.

A spokesman for the foundation says the money was supposed to be used to construct a performing arts center in honor of the late singer's mother, Retha Robinson.

Ray Charles, who died in 2004, was an Albany native and also donated $1 million to Morehouse College in Atlanta. That school built a 76,000 square-foot performing arts center in the singer's name at a cost of $20 million.

"The return of funds donated by the late Ray Charles brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation," Albany State University President Everette J. Freeman said in a statement released Thursday.. "We thank Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents and the Attorney General's office for assisting us in resolving this issue.

Huckaby went on to say that a new fine arts building remains "one of the university's greatest needs which we hope will be completed as soon as possible," but that the university "remains focused on increasing student scholarships and development."

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