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Center for Performing Arts Named in Honor of Former WIU President

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution naming the Center for Performing Arts the Goldfarb Center for Performing Arts in honor of WIU President Emeritus Alvin Goldfarb, in recognition of his significant contributions to WIU and his enduring support for the arts.


Goldfarb served as WIU’s 10th president from 2002-11. During his time as president, Goldfarb was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the future Center for Performing Arts. Through his leadership, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) first recommended funding for the construction of the Center for Performing Arts in 2002.


Following the board vote, a press conference was held to provide further details and to officially announce the Goldfarb Center for Performing Arts. Several WIU representatives spoke during the press conference.


Interim President Kristi Mindrup opened the press conference, emphasizing the importance of the day.


“Today represents an historic convergence of past vision, planning and dedication with present day follow-through, commitment and an opportunity to see long-term efforts come into reality and to realize a dream, “ said Mindrup. “A seed was planted years ago and has grown into reality after years of thoughtful planning, advocacy and persistence.”


Chair of the Board of Trustees Carin Stutz spoke next, sharing thoughts from the Board.


“How fortunate WIU was to have a leader that left a positive impact on our students, our faculty, our employees and our community,” said Stutz. “Your selfless energy and commitment will now be remembered daily by all who attend or pass by this beautiful new addition to our campus.”


Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Billy Clow provided remarks about Goldfarb’s impact on WIU.


“Dr. Goldfarb left an indelible mark on Macomb and Western. Beyond his art, beyond his leadership, and beyond his courage and determination, it is his passion and dedication to his students, and the people around him, that makes him exceptional. Humanity, empathy and the will to get it done; that’s what went into his vision for then the performing arts center and now the Goldfarb Center for Performing Arts,” Clow said.


Following Clow’s remarks, Goldfarb spoke briefly about the personal significance of the Board’s vote.


“Naming means more to me than I can express. My parents were Holocaust survivors. My mother survived only with an aunt. My father was the only survivor in his family. His name should not have survived. I should not actually be here. I’m a kind of an historical accident. My brother, my children, my grandchildren and I are named after people we never met and who we only knew by name and we were to carry those names on. The naming of this remarkable new Center for the Performing Arts after me means that the name that was not meant to survive will continue forever. And for that I cannot ever fully express my gratitude” said Goldfarb.


Vice President for Advancement, Alumni Relations and Athletics Clare Thompson closed the press conference by announcing a recent major gift commitment from Goldfarb, the Alvin Goldfarb Endowment for Performing Arts Excellence.


The Goldfarb Endowment will support the new Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership graduate program, as well as artistic programming for the Goldfarb Center through scholarships, artist fees and other direct expenses.


Additionally, Goldfarb has established a planned gift with the WIU Foundation, furthering the future success of the Goldfarb Center by donating royalties from three theatre history textbooks he has authored.


“You’ve made a special investment in us and on behalf of our students today, and most importantly, forever in the future, thank you for your generosity and believing in us,” Thompson said.


The Goldfarb Center for Performing Arts, the first state-funded building at WIU since the 1970s, will allow COFAC programs to consolidate into a more centralized location and provide academic and performance opportunities that match the excellence of Western's academic units.


The 100,000-square-foot building will include classrooms, offices, practice rooms, studios and performance spaces. The Great Hall, a 900-seat Proscenium Theatre, will provide an ultramodern performance space for music, theatre and dance productions, as well as regional and national touring performances, while the smaller Black Box theatre will provide a more intimate space for campus productions.


The LEED Certified Silver, $119-million Goldfarb Center is scheduled to open by the end of 2025. For more information about the Goldfarb Center, visit wiu.edu/cpa.


Beyond Goldfarb’s recent gift to fund the Goldfarb Endowment for Excellent, he and his wife Elaine have been strong supporters of WIU. In August 2010, the Goldfarbs established an endowment to permanently fund the University's Civil Service Employee of the Month award. In 2012, the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus atrium was dedicated as the Alvin and Elaine Goldfarb Grand Atrium in honor of the Goldfarbs’ support for WIU and the Quad Cities campus.


Those wishing to support the Goldfarb Endowment for Performing Arts Excellence can make contributions online at wiu.edu/give. Checks can be made payable to WIU Foundation with “Goldfarb Arts Endowment” in the memo line and can be mailed to WIU Foundation; 1 University Circle; Macomb, IL 61455.

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