Jim and Kathy Tune

Couple’s Passion for the Performing Arts Leads to Bequest

Jim (Col ’64) and Kathy Tune

“You get out of life what you put into it,” said James F. Tune (Col ’64). “If you are willing to get in and explore and experiment, you can get a lot out of it.”

Tune, who attended U.Va. on a Navy ROTC scholarship, has taken his own advice. He served a tour of duty as officer-in-charge of a swift boat in Vietnam during his five years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He met his wife, Kathy, while working at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. Within months, they were engaged.

After their wedding, the Tunes moved to Stanford, Calif., where they pursued advanced degrees at Stanford University—Jim in political science and then law, and Kathy in linguistics. Then it was on to Seattle, where, for 31 years, Jim Tune practiced corporate law at several well-respected firms, rising to partner at all three.

In 2006, he left the practice of law to become the president and CEO of ArtsFund, a community arts consortium. The leap from corporate lawyer to chief fundraiser wasn’t as surprising as it might seem—the arts have been an integral part of Tune’s life since childhood. His mother, Agnes Fulcher Tune (Educ ’50), was an amateur landscape painter.

The Tunes began collecting artwork while at Stanford. Their first purchase was a lithograph by the 20th-century American abstract expressionist Sam Francis.

“When we were dating, we often went to the Smithsonian or the National Art Gallery,” Kathy Tune said. “It was a pleasure to go out with someone interested in the arts. He wasn’t just taking me because I wanted to go.”

The couple’s passion for art extends beyond collecting. They enjoy the performing arts—ballet, theatre, opera—as well. Before Jim Tune’s career change, his busy work schedule prevented the couple from attending performances as much as they would have liked. Now they step out several nights a week.

In 2008, the Tunes decided to combine their love of performing arts with their strong connection to the University. They named the Department of Drama at the College of Arts & Sciences as a beneficiary of their will. Their gift, when realized, will make it possible for future generations of young people—from undergraduates minoring in drama to students participating in productions to graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in fine arts—to attend the University.

“We wanted the residue of the estate to go to something that had long-term significance,” Jim Tune added. “And that’s the University.”