By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-chief
The fine arts building will be nameless no more.
It will be named after Beverly and Robert Parker as a reflection of their lifetime of giving and service to the university, and a grand entryway will be constructed with an estimated completion in the fall of 2013.
The naming was approved during a Board of Trustees meeting in fall 2012. Though the grand entryway will not yet be completed by then, a naming ceremony is being planned for April, with the exact date to be announced.
Dr. Terry Toler, vice president for university advancement and church relations, spoke highly of the Parkers’ contributions to the university and their humility during an interview with The Echo.
“I couldn’t think of two more gracious people,” Toler said. “It’s more than the naming of the building. It’s a testimony.”
The Parkers also have a historic connection to the fine arts building. Robert’s father was one of the architects of the building, which formerly served as the student union and housed the cafeteria. Robert helped lay brick for the building, and Beverly was a hostess there.
“This is a special building for them…it’s very fitting that it bear their name,” Dr. Melissa Lewis, chairperson of the school of music, said in an interview with The Echo.
While the Parkers have been “the most generous donors in school history,” Toler made it clear that this was not something they asked for.
“They’ve never asked for anything,” Toler said. “They’re just not like that…It was not something they sought. It was something the governing board and the administration wanted to recognize.”
The Parkers’ generosity can be seen through scholarships. According to SNU’s webpage on general scholarships, there are four endowed scholarships in the name of Beverly Parker, who is an alumnae of the university.
The expansion will have an effect on the interior space of the fine arts building. Lewis has been part of the discussion about the internal changes.
“It’s actually expanding teaching space. It’s reducing storage space,” Lewis said.
In cleaning out the storage space that would be lost, they discovered that a lot of the things being stored there were outdated, broken and/or did not need to be kept, according to Lewis. As a result, they were able to consolidate everything they wanted to keep in the remaining storage space.
Toler noted that the fine arts building hosts numerous campus visitors throughout the year.
According to Lewis, these groups include district solo and ensemble contests, private music teachers, music teacher organizations and Bethany First Church of the Nazarene, which holds some weekly Sunday School classes there.
“We’re excited about the change…it will make the building more interesting and easier to find,” Lewis said.
There have been some rumors among students regarding the project, such as that it will cost one million dollars.
“It’s not a million dollar project by any stretch of the imagination,” Toler said.
Some students have also suggested that the money could be better used elsewhere. Toler noted that this project served multiple purposes, including honoring the couple and enhancing the building.
“It’s important for us to upgrade. It’s an enhancement project. It accomplishes more than one thing,” Toler said. “It’s a nice addition to the building and the campus in general.”
The fine arts building houses the art and design and music majors. According to the 2012 SNU Factbook, there are 80 music majors and 19 art and design majors, out of a total of 1095 students in traditional programs.
Approximately 150 students are involved in ensembles, according to Lewis. In addition, the building is used for used for class chapels, Homecoming activities, NSI family group meetings, NSI choir, General Education courses, Professional Studies and more.