Avila University Receives Largest Gift in its 100 Year History
Gift Will Support New Goppert Performing Arts Center
KANSAS CITY, MO – Avila University has announced a $3.5 million contribution and has unveiled renderings for a new Goppert Performing Arts Center. The announcement was made at a VIP reception on April 28, prior to the opening night of its student production, Monty Python’s Spamalot.
The donation, the largest single gift in Avila’s 100-year history, was made through the estate of Mrs. Vita Goppert, a generous patron of the arts and Avila’s first lay female board member.
Mrs. Carolyn Kellogg, niece of Goppert, was in attendance as Dr. Charlene Gould, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Professor of Theatre made announcement of the gift to board members, patrons, faculty, staff and students. Theatre students and costumed cast members of the evening’s production were on hand to support the unveiling of the building renderings.
“The (current) theatre has been with us and it’s a wonderful space”, said Gould. “What we’re lacking is the training facilities around it. We currently have a small scene shop where we can’t build and load in, so we have to actually build scenes on stage.”
Kellogg remembers being at a similar event when the original Goppert Theatre was constructed in 1974. “We are very pleased to see this wonderful hall get reconstructed. It will be a wonderful place for the students for years to come”, she said.
The new Goppert Performing Arts Center will provide students with additional performance spaces, classrooms, rehearsal areas, equipment and technology, and a newly designed scene shop. In addition, a 200 seat laboratory blackbox theatre will allow for more intimate performances and for Theatre for Young America, who has enjoyed a 16-year partnership with Avila, to present their productions.
“It’s hard to believe TYA has been working with Avila so long. We really look forward to the many building updates that will come out of this project”, said Gene Mackey, Executive Director for Theatre for Young America.
A grand entrance of the new Goppert Performing Arts Center will be the focal point for the campus and the visiting community. The multi-level, naturally illuminated lobby will serve as a welcoming area for students, community members and theatre patrons. The atrium will also provide space for informal learning, social functions, pre-performance events and post-performance conversations.
“Having an actual performing arts center surrounding the Goppert Theatre”, Gould said, “will provide more opportunities for students as well as relieving congestion because of the university’s programs have expanded.”
The Goppert Performing Arts Center will culminate Avila University’s $43 million Centennial Campaign with The Creative Arts Initiative, as the special focus to promoting the arts. “We hope to break ground as soon as we conclude our spring musical in 2017”, Gould said.
Avila University, a Catholic University sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, is a values-based community of learning providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community. Our approach to education brings out the best in our students, so they can bring out the best in others.