David Rubenstein has given $25 million to Duke University. (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News)

Philanthropist David Rubenstein has donated $25 million to Duke University to support a new $50 million performing arts center, as well as programs and performances to be held there.

Rubenstein is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university in Durham, N.C., and a 1970 graduate. His gift will fund a  71,000-square-foot building for the arts near the Nasher Museum of Art and Duke Gardens. The facility will provide rehearsal rooms and space for video production, performances and classrooms. The board this weekend approved construction of the building, which is expected to take two years to complete.

“Duke has made great progress in recent years in bringing the arts to the same level of excellence we expect in anything that the university does,” Rubenstein said in a statement. “I look forward to this new building, and the programs and performances that will take place in it, becoming an essential part of every Duke student’s experience.”

Rubenstein is a major supporter of the arts in the District. The co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group, Rubenstein is the chairman of the board of the Kennedy Center, and he serves on the boards of the National Gallery of Art and the Lincoln Center in New York. His previous contributions to Duke have funded the Sanford School of Public Policy, faculty programs, athletics and libraries, including the recently completed David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The new arts center is the latest investment in the arts by Duke, which has spent almost $100 million in the past decade, according to the university. After the Nasher Museum opened in 2005, a new university strategic plan named the arts a priority.

“We are grateful to David Rubenstein for his visionary gift, which will ensure that the arts continue to thrive as a significant dimension of a Duke education, while the new space will set the stage for a thousand forms of creativity and innovation,” Duke President Richard H. Brodhead said in a statement. “The arts building represents a major step in Duke’s commitment to supporting the artistic work of our students and faculty.”