January 16, 2004 Feature
Recital Hall Unveiled At Utah State University
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
"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
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."
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
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
"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 [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Photos by Donna Barry
2004 State of the
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
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
"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.
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 [email@example.com]
Photos by Donna Barry
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