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Dedication of Susan T. Beverly Hall

Ribbon cutting, special performances, and tours celebrate recent upgrades to the fine arts facility

University News | September 9, 2021

Photo Gallery: Dedication of Susan T. Beverly Hall
Photo Gallery: Inside Susan T. Beverly Hall

Virginia Wesleyan University officially dedicated Susan T. Beverly Hall (the original Fine Arts Building) during a special ceremony held September 9 as part of the University's Founders Day celebrations.  

The building is named for Susan Torma Beverly, Trustee Emerita, alumna of the Class of 1972, and a retired educator. She was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from VWU at Commencement in May for her steadfast friendship and support of the University for many years.

"We could not be more pleased and thankful to name this newly renovated building, a cornerstone of thousands of Marlins’ campus experiences throughout the last five decades, in her honor," said President Miller. 

Also named in Beverly’s honor is the Susan Beverly Grand Terrace and Pond at the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center.

President Miller acknowledged several distinguished benefactors who have supported Virginia Wesleyan’s journey in years' past and yet again on this occasion.

“We are currently standing in the Edward D. Hofheimer Theatre, which was originally constructed in 1981 and now has also been lovingly renovated thanks to many members of the Hofheimer family," said Dr. Miller. "I would especially like to recognize Clay Hofheimer Barr, niece to the theatre’s namesake, for mobilizing her family. Clay’s special efforts resulted in additional fundraising dedicated to make this space truly spectacular including acoustical stage flooring—identical to what was used in the Goode Center—new LED lighting, a new curtain, and much more.”  

During the ceremony, tokens of appreciation—framed architectural photographs and photo books of the newly renovated building—were presented as gifts, and special donors to the project were recognized, including: The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Fund, The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, James A. Hixon, Linda H. Kaufman, Philippa Barr, Elena Barr Baum, David and Claire Benjack, Edward G. Kaufman, Elise P. Wright, Wesley Wright III, and Wesley and Elise H. Wright.

Following a formal ribbon cutting in Hofheimer Theatre, the evening turned to performances of gratitude and thanks from flutist Hailey Schumacher ’22 with piano accompaniment by VWU music instructor Valletta Fellenbaum. In addition, Serena Smith ‘21, vocalist and MBA candidate at Virginia Wesleyan, performed with piano accompaniment by VWU music instructor George Stone.

After the performances, Joseph “Trey” Delpo ’17, Director of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, and Jason Seward ’05, Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Operational Management, hosted tours of the newly renovated hall.

“This facility has a special space in the University’s past,” noted President Miller. “But now, this building holds a vital role in the University’s present and future.”

Renovations in Susan T. Beverly Hall

For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it.
If only we're brave enough to be it.

Visitors to the newly renovated Susan T. Beverly Hall are greeted by murals created by Professor of Art John Rudel and his Art 306 class. The original murals flanking the front doorway in the Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Fine Arts Entrance and Lobby reflect on National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb," recited during President Biden’s inauguration ceremony in January, 2021.

The murals and their poignant, timely message are just the beginning of numerous improvements and upgrades to the Hall during the past two years.

Improvements include the addition of the Hixon Music Studios which were equipped with a Steinway-Designed Boston piano in each of the six studios; the Parsons Ensemble Room, freshly outfitted with new sound and rehearsal equipment; a renovated Hofheimer Theatre that now has new curtains, theatrical lighting, and new sound equipment; the Cabell Foundation Visual Art Studios, complete with improved lighting and a new photography studio, as well as space for seniors to prepare their capstone projects; and a new Kiln Room that houses three Skutt electric kilns, a downdraft-style gas kiln for stoneware firings, and a Raku kiln. 

A new Digital Media Lab, in the Visual Arts Wing, is also a major upgrade to the facility. 

“Our biggest goal in designing this lab was to make it as versatile as possible” said Travis Malone, Professor of Theatre, Dean of the Batten Honors College and faculty liaison for the renovation of Beverly Hall. “We wanted to make sure it would be a lab that could advance as many aspects of the arts programs on campus as possible.”

The Digital Media Lab is equipped with 16 top-of-the-line computers with advanced processors, video cards, and audio cards that enable each computer to run the advanced software required for digital music, digital art, and photography classes. Each computer in the lab also has a 44 Key MIDI controller for use in music theory and digital music classes. In addition, the new lab sports a 77-inch, 4K television in the front of the room, as well as high-end Behringer speakers that enable students to present their work directly from their own computers. A room in the back of the lab also serves as both a recording booth and a virtual reality studio. 

With the photography studio right across the hall, the Digital Media Lab supports digital art and photography students, while also serving to support the Digital Music and Technical Theatre programs on campus. 

View architectural photos of the newly updated Susan T. Beverly Hall.

Learn more about The Arts at Virginia Wesleyan University.