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Performing Arts Center Named In Honor Of Gaertners

Aug. 20, 2010
SHSU Media Contact: Bruce Erickson


University President Jim Gaertner and wife Nancy were surprised on Thursday (Aug. 19) when the Texas State University System Board of Regents announced that SHSU's new Performing Arts Center would be named in honor of the soon-to-be-departing couple. Gaertner will retire from his position at the end of the month.


The board of regents of the Texas State University System announced today the naming of Sam Houston State University’s new Performing Arts Center in honor of outgoing President James Gaertner and his wife Nancy.

Gaertner officially retires Aug. 31. He was hired in 2001 as the 12th president in the university’s 131-year history.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Regent Trisha Pollard, of Bellaire, said, “When the board considered the question of naming this magnificent performing arts center this summer, it was clear that it should be named in honor of Jim and Nancy Gaertner because they have done so much for this university and community over the last nine years.

“This center will impact students and lovers of the arts of the present, as well as young people in future generations who may have never heard a violin or cello in their lives.”

Gaertner said the honor is the capstone of both his and Nancy’s service to Sam Houston.

“Serving as president of this great university has been a privilege and joy in and of itself,” Gaertner said. “Rarely do people have the good fortune for those two experiences to intersect as they have for Nancy and me here. But having our names associated with this splendid new performing arts center is perhaps the greatest honor of our professional lives.

“Nancy and I have enjoyed the performances of our students, faculty and visiting professionals in music, dance and theatre and been so impressed with their talents. We have among the best programs in dance, theatre and music in the region, exceptionally talented students and faculty and now we have facilities that are equal to their talents.

“I believe our new concert hall is the equal to the best in Texas,” he said. “I can’t wait for students and the community to experience performances here.”

Among the amenities of the center are a concert hall that seats 800, a state-of-the-art dance theatre that seats 160 and a separate recital hall that seats 175.

The center encompasses more than 100,000 square feet, cost $38.5 million to build, and includes practice studios for theatre, dance and music, faculty offices, set design and building spaces, costume design and wardroom facilities.

It also features seven installations of “public art”—sculpture, mosaics, and murals—especially commissioned for the center, including a hanging sculpture by James Surls, an internationally known artist who is also an alumnus of Sam Houston State.

The theatres will feature several performances throughout the year by students, faculty and professionals, including a concert by the Houston Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 29 and performances by the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, featuring repertory by Dominic Walsh and Jiri Kylian on Oct. 29-30.

Ticket and event information is available at www.shsu.edu.



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