Giese Center for the Performing Arts Dedicated
February 23, 2015
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Richard F. and Sandra L. Giese Center for the Performing Arts was dedicated in style Saturday evening during the University of Mount Union’s Black Tie Gala event.
The event capped a weekend-long celebration of the opening of the Center for the Performing Arts, which included performances by America’s Got Talent’s Chicago Boyz and rePercussion on Thursday and an alumni and faculty art exhibit and student vocal and instrumental performances on Friday evening.
During the Gala event on Saturday, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, toured the brand new facility and were entertained by a performance by Direct From Vegas The Rat Pack,® a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
In addition, the Giese Center was officially dedicated on Saturday evening, with Greg King ‘89, vice president for University advancement and Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and Dean of the University, offering opening remarks.
“Thank you for joining us as we gather to recognize an important moment in the life of the University and to celebrate and thank those who have made it possible,” King said.
“The arts embody the significance of this well-rounded student experience for which Mount Union is known,” Draves said. “Art, music and theatre truly help to nourish the ‘whole person.’ This beautiful new facility will be the most impactful visual representation of our commitment to the arts. There is no doubt that this stunning new facility will help us reach beyond the borders of our campus and into the larger regional community.”
Randall C. Hunt ‘75, chairman of the Board of Trustees, accepted the Giese Center on behalf of the University.
“This facility clearly represents the University’s continued commitment to the visual and performing arts and will undoubtedly provide exceptional educational opportunities for our graduates,” Hunt said. “I would also like to pay tribute to all of our loyal supporters that rose to the occasion to make this important facility a reality. As chair of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Alliance community, a proud Mount Union graduate and a parent of a Mount Union graduate, I thank you all for your commitment and generosity to Mount Union.”
On behalf of the visual and performing arts faculty and staff, Dr. Patricia Boehm, professor of music, chair of the Department of Music and chair of the Department of Theatre, accepted the Giese Center.
“On behalf of the visual and performing arts faculty and staff, I thank everyone who made this possible. I can assure you that the faculty and staff – and certainly our students – deeply appreciate your support to help make this a reality and help us to become even stronger programs,” Boehm said.
Mount Union senior Jacob Ward, an art and theatre major of Kensington, Ohio, accepted the facility on behalf of visual and performing arts students at Mount Union.
“This facility sends a clear message that the visual and performing arts are alive and well at the University of Mount Union,” Ward said.
Joel Sassa ’78, president of the Mount Union Alumni Association, accepted the facility on behalf of University alumni.
“It is an honor and privilege to accept this facility today – a facility that provides a tremendous home for our students of the arts,” Sassa said.
“The stories we tell in this new hall, the stories we sing, the stories we paint, the stories we dance, the stories we sculpt, are personal stories,” said Kevin P. Kern, assistant professor of theatre. “They are stories of our humanity, and it is vital that we tell them, and that people receive them, and that people are moved by them. The ability to do this is what it means to be human. How thankful we are that our University has been led by two people so committed to this idea. Each time President and Mrs. Giese adjust their busy schedules to hear a concert, or open their home to raise funds for Shakespeare at the Castle, or invite important guests to see a gallery show, they proclaim their commitment to the visual and performing arts at Mount Union.”
The Gieses expressed appreciation for those supporting the visual and performing arts programs at Mount Union and for being their names being etched in stone on the Giese Center. In October, the University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the performing arts center in honor of the Gieses.
“We hope this facility will offer new opportunities for our students, faculty and guests to tell their stories, as Kevin so beautifully explained,” Sandra said. We also hope this facility will provide opportunities for our Alliance and surrounding communities.”
“I echo Sandy’s words that we are humbly thankful for this honor, and it was indeed an unexpected surprise when it was announced,” Richard continued. “The arts are often thought of as the ‘soul’of a liberal arts college. They add meaning, passion and life to a rich, well-rounded education. Mount Union now has a beautiful, new venue for artistic expression and it is the fruits of the work of all of you.”
At the end of the evening, the many donors to the performing arts project were recognized.
The Giese Center for the Performing Arts, which came in the form of a significant renovation and addition to the west end of the existing arts facility, includes a new lobby, proscenium theatre, black box theatre, green room, scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, art gallery and choral room as well as a renovated band room. total cost for the project is estimated at $13 million.
Year of the Arts
The Year of the Arts will feature a number of special performances including nationally known groups. The event lineup for the year is being planned by the University’s Year of the Arts committee, which includes representatives of the departments of Art, Music and Theatre, along with several others on campus. In addition to special guest performances, the Year of the Arts will feature a full repertoire of music and theatre student performances in the new Giese Center for the Performing Arts, as well as gallery shows by student and professional artists. In addition, a number of the 2015 lectures will be dedicated to the arts. Check mountunion.edu for an updated event schedule throughout the year.