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Community gathers to commemorate the auditorium at Victoria College

Aug. 18, 2011 at 3:18 a.m.

Community members visit as they commemorate the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium at the "If Walls Could Talk" event Thursday night.

WHO WAS THERE

Notable Lyceum speakers at the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium included CBS correspondent Roger Mudd, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Haley, actor Charlton Heston, author Elizabeth Gilbert, North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin, syndicated columnist William F. Buckley, poet Maya Angelou, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and president of Poland, Lech Walesa.

For a list of presenters, go to the website: victoriacollege.edu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=337&Itemid=1112

Gloria Ideus moved to Victoria before the auditorium was constructed at Victoria College in 1966.

Ideus, 82, who participated as a singer in productions for the community, said she is sad to see the old auditorium go.

"Even though we have a lot of newer facilities, and some are larger and more elaborate, to me this one was the best," Ideus said. "The acoustics were good all the way to the back row. That was the best place to sit."

Ideus was among graduates, teachers and other community members gathered to commemorate the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium at the "If Walls Could Talk" event Thursday night. Community members were invited to donate toward Victoria College scholarships by participating in a silent auction or buying commemorative bricks from the building.

Louise Hume, 82, of Victoria, said she taught economics at Victoria College for 8 years before serving as the registrar for 25.

"I feel like I should be up there on stage handing out diplomas," said Hume as she walked through the old auditorium.

"The auditorium has been part of Victoria College for a very long time, not just as an instructional facility, but also to hold community events," said president of Victoria College Tom Butler.

"But the auditorium has grown more expensive to maintain, and it is not as needed as it was in the past."

Sarah Smith, 22, of Victoria, graduated from Victoria College last December. Smith was involved in drama and said the auditorium was a key part of her college experience.

"I used to do the whole acting scene here," Smith said. "It's gonna be different. Hopefully they build something cool and exciting in its place."

Butler said the school does plan to construct a new music and art center once the auditorium is torn down in September.

Associate Professor of Art at Victoria College Debra Chronister said she is looking forward to the new opportunities brought by the new facilities.

Chronister said this summer she joined art students in pursuing their dreams of making larger art pieces. The art was composed in sections determined by the size of the kilns the artists were able to use.

Due to the size of the kilns available in the Victoria College art studio, ceramic pieces had to be made in sections and then connected.

"After the renovation, we will have a kiln patio outside with larger kilns." Chronister said.

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