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January 16, 2004 Feature

State-Of-The-Art Recital Hall Unveiled At Utah State University

Kathryn Caine Wanlass, President Kermit L. Hall, Manon Russell, Gary KigerUtah State University President Kermit L. Hall announced that the largest individual gift in the university's history would allow construction of a world-class recital hall that will become a signature building, a facility he called an icon to aesthetic beauty and model of commitment to the arts.

At the conclusion of his State of the University address Wednesday (Jan. 14), Hall honored the two donors, sisters Kathryn Caine Wanlass and Manon Caine Russell, for their life-long love for the arts and for their generous donation to the estimated $8.5 million recital hall. This initial gift is approximately $6.3 million.

"We are extremely grateful to Kathryn Wanlass and Manon Russell for their generosity and vision," Hall said. "This new recital hall adds greatly to the intellectual and cultural life of our campus and the arts community in the region. The prestige that this facility will bring adds to our growing reputation as a university."

The recital hall is the centerpiece of the developing School of the Arts, a program in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The 14,000-square-foot building will be constructed west of the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art on campus. The hall will feature an intimate seating arrangement for approximately 400 patrons, said Gary Kiger, dean of the college. Design plans for the recital hall are under way and many of the details are still under consideration, Kiger said.

But he is certain of one fact: the recital hall will be a world-class facility, rich in acoustic quality and architectural design.

"It will be a premier performing arts facility, a model of innovative design with distinct and obvious commitment to the highest standards of quality," Kiger said. "It will be a reflection of Kathryn and Manon’s passion for distinctive aesthetics that will enhance the character of the university and the region."

With that goal in mind, Sasaki Associates Inc. was selected as architect for the project. The firm's internationally renowned and award-winning designs ensure that the new recital hall will be among the best in the country, Kiger said. A state architectural firm will be involved in the project as well.

Sasaki Associates has design experience around the world and has been involved in arts facilities at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, the LaSalle Institute College of the Arts in Singapore, Merrimack College’s Rogers Center for the Arts in North Andover, Mass., and the Evergreen Valley College Performing/Visual Arts Center in San Jose, Calif., among others. The firm has been recognized with a number of awards, most recently with the first-place award in the international design competition for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sasaki also won a top prize for the Wukesong Cultural and Sports Center — the Olympic venue in China for basketball, baseball and softball. The firm has been involved in completing a master plan for the Utah State campus.

Provost Stan Albrecht and Dean Gary Kiger with recital hall slideUtah State Provost Stan Albrecht, who has worked closely with the family over a number of years, said the generous gift creates the principal, initial contribution to the college's School of the Arts. The School of the Arts will become a community of the arts among faculty and students while showcasing excellence in artistic programming and creativity in partnership with the community, he said. The recital hall will provide benefits both to current students and to future generations of students.

"The benefits of this gift will be experienced in perpetuity," Albrecht said. "We want to thank Kathryn Caine Wanlass and Manon Caine Russell for the generous gift that will make this world-class recital hall possible. This premier performance venue will make an enormous difference in the academic, professional and personal lives of our faculty and students."

Kiger said the construction of the recital hall was a priority for the School of the Arts. "Although the school is much more than buildings, the recital hall moves us closer to becoming a premier arts program," he said. "This facility will allow us to continue to attract the very best students, outstanding faculty and stellar performers."

Kathryn Wanlass and Manon Russell  with Phyllis Hall and crowdWanlass and Russell have a long association with the university and are long-time supporters of its programs, according to Julie Pitcher, director of development for the college.

"Kathryn and Manon have a long-time commitment to giving to the arts, ranging from student scholarships to visiting artists, programming and the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art," Pitcher said. "Indeed, their family has a long-standing record of contributions to Utah State. They have made an enormous difference in the quality and vitality of the arts in this region."

The women have strong family ties to the university. Their grandfather, John T. Caine, was instrumental in establishing the university in Logan. Their father, George, headed Utah State's dairy husbandry department for 39 years. And their mother, Marie Eccles Caine, planted the seeds for a life-long interest in the arts.

Both women studied at Utah State University. Wanlass studied at the school for a year before completing a bachelor's degree at Stanford University. Russell completed a bachelor’s degree in English at Utah State and a master’s degree at Stanford. Wanlass received an honorary degree from Utah State in 1995, and Russell was honored by the Utah State Alumni Association with a Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Wanlass and Russell said their parents cultivated their strong interest in arts and humanities throughout their lives, and the Caine family has had long ties at many levels with Utah State. The recital hall is a gift to enhance to the educational distinction of the university and further the arts for a long time.

"We want the recital hall to be a beautiful, vibrant place that will enrich educational life at Utah State," Russell said. "It will showcase music primarily but also provide a place for visiting artists, theater and master classes."

Wanlass and Russell said they are pleased and privileged to help fill the needs of the School of the Arts.

"We feel privileged to be able to supply something so immensely useful to the new School of the Arts," Wanlass added. "So many wonderful musicians and artists visit the university, and it is indeed a pleasure for the two of us to provide a recital hall equal to their world-class talents."

Groundbreaking will take place some time this spring with an anticipated completion date of December 2005.

Contacts: Kermit L. Hall, 435-797-1157
Gary Kiger, 435-797-1195
Julie Pitcher, 435-797-3662
Writer: Tim Vitale (435) 797-1356 [tim.vitale@usu.edu]
Photos by Donna Barry


2004 State of the University Address

Incrementally Bigger, Dramatically Better

President Kermit L. HallIn 2003 Utah State made international news with the world's first cloned mule, nurtured a Rhodes Scholar and flew a student-designed replica of the Wright Flyer over the field where the Wright brothers first took to the air. Hall noted that the official replica plopped in the mud, while Utah State’s soared.

The emphasis on "academics first" has resulted in the best-prepared entering class of undergrad and grad students as measured by GPA, GRE and GMAT scores, lower student/faculty ratios, an increase in student retention and six-year graduation rates, an increase in grad school applications, more academic advisors and the largest scholarship support in Utah State's history.

Utah State also saw a dramatic infusion of new federal research dollars, which brought $141 million to the state. Our students led the nation in the number of student-designed projects sent into space, as well as student research projects showcased at Washington, D.C.'s Posters on the Hill exhibit. Fifty-two Innovation Campus companies provided 900 students with research and mentoring opportunities, and Continuing Education saw a dramatic increase in the number of rural Utahns taking advantage of our outreach programs. And Utah State's athletes were nationally recognized for their ability to score in the classroom—they hold some of the highest GPA and graduation rates in the NCAA.

Hall conceded that although we’ve come a long way, Utah State still has a long way to go, especially in the areas of compensation for faculty and staff, student/faculty class ratios, gender equity and doctoral graduation rates. There is also a troubling deficit in Utah State’s fuel and power bills, and rising tuition costs pose a serious financial challenge for many students.

Hall highlighted numerous individual achievements of faculty and students, and expressed the hope of continuing to develop an inclusive, sophisticated campus community.

Utah State has benefited from the low interest rates, making this a good time to develop our infrastructure, Hall said. There is currently a building boom on campus, with construction projects totaling $201 million.

Cache Valley Benchmark Community Summit Set For The Fall

Hall recently met with a handful of community members in Cache Valley. "Three issues have emerged that will inform our continuing dialogue: demographic change, economic development, and the sustainability and character of Cache Valley," Hall said. The president spoke to the need for the university to be engaged in responding to community issues. A Cache Valley Benchmark Community Summit is set for September 2004.

"We want to sustain the environment that makes this a special place," Hall said.

Utah State To Become Model For Environmental Sustainability

The president spoke of the university's role as a steward. "Few of us realize how much we depend on one another. It's important to preserve and protect our resources for those who come after us," Hall said.

"One of the more rigorous efforts going on for the past year is our attempt to determine how environmentally friendly we are as an institution and what we need to do to become more so," the president said. "As a university with a long tradition and reputation for being conservation-minded, it is our responsibility to set a good example, to become a model."

Last year a 19-member committee led by Extension Vice-President Jack Payne looked at ways to systematically and more effectively conserve our precious natural resources, Hall said. They focused on sustainability, research and curriculum.

Fee Busby and Randy Simmons have been selected as co-chairs of the ongoing sustainability initiative, according to Hall. "They have the task of tracking the university’s sustainability performance against a report card to be published annually and presented to the university community."

Gift Helps Establish Centerpiece For School Of The Arts

Toward the close of Hall's address he invited Provost Stan Albrecht to join him in announcing the construction of a new recital hall.

"I'm deeply honored to join Kermit Hall and Gary Kiger at one of the most momentous events in Utah State's history," Albrecht said. "This spring a groundbreaking will be held for a new world-class recital hall."

A gift from longtime Utah State friends Kathryn Caine Wanlass and Manon Caine Russell will make the recital hall a reality. The recital hall is the centerpiece of the developing School of the Arts, and will be a world-class facility, rich in acoustic quality and architectural design.

President Hall announces new recital hall"We are extremely grateful to Kathryn and Maron for their generosity and vision," said Hall. "This is the single largest personal gift ever made to Utah State.

"Kathryn and Manon have made an enormous difference in the quality and vitality of the arts in this region," Hall said. "Their family has a long-standing record of contributions to Utah State, beginning with their grandfather, John Caine, who was instrumental in establishing the university."

"It's no exaggeration to say that a list of their kindnesses to our university covers pages and pages," said Hall. "Today they’ve added not a page, but an entire chapter."

After the address, held at the Eccles Conference Center, faculty, students and staff mingled over Aggie ice cream.

Friends of Utah State can view the speech live online at http://www.usu.edu/. Text notes can be accessed from the President's Page.

Writer: Nadene Steinhoff [nadene.steinhoff@usu.edu]
Photos by Donna Barry


 

 



 

 

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