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2009 News Releases

Center for Communication Studies and Theatre officially opened

September 17, 2009

Longwood University officially opened its new Center for Communication Studies and Theatre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 10.

Participating in the ribbon cutting for the new building were Longwood President Patricia Cormier; The Honorable Otis L. Brown, vice rector, Longwood Board of Visitors; Dr. Wayne McWee, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Chuck Ross, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Ramesh Rao, chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre; Pam Arkin, associate professor of theatre; Cecelia Culler, secretary for the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre; Amanda Mason, a communication studies major; and Justin Heavner, a theatre major.

In his welcoming remarks, Brown, vice rector of Longwood's Board of Visitors, said, "This is the new home for future journalists, and for future stage managers, event planners, actors, broadcasters, speech writers, and political pundits. But most of all, this place will have a great impact on the citizen leaders of the world that this university is going to provide."

Present for the ceremony were Dr. Nancy Haga, professor emerita of speech and chair of the department in 1986; Dr. Douglas Young, professor emeritus of speech and theatre; and Nancy Lockwood, the widow of Dr. Patton Lockwood, who taught for 29 years in the Department of Speech and Theatre and was the first chair of the department (1966-83). Also present were Board of Visitors' members Jane Brooke, Rita Hughes, Susan Soza, and former rector, Barry Case.

Faculty and staff began moving into the building last summer and classes have been held in the building since the beginning of the fall semester. The three-story, 41,983-square foot building features a flexible 174-seat "black box" theater as well as a studio theater of about 80 seats that will be used for student productions. There is also a scene shop, a costume shop and a drafting lab. The costume shop includes 18 Bernina sewing machines, a dye vat, and a laundry room. The computer lab is equipped with 15 MacIntosh computers and several large-scale printers. The drafting lab, located on the corner of the third floor, is filled with natural light from the many windows surrounding the room. There are 15 drafting tables each with parallel and t-square rulers.

Faculty offices are also located on the third floor of the building, which offers a spectacular view of Brock Commons to the north and a view of the Health and Fitness Center and Pine Street to the south.

An added attraction in the Center is The Jack Blanton Gallery, which features more than 160 of the 230 pieces of artwork donated by Jack Blanton to the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) in 2006. Blanton, former chairman of the LCVA Advisory Board, is a retired Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond vice president who lives in North Palm Beach, Fla. The artwork, described as widely eclectic with a contemporary focus, features a variety of Virginia artists along with nationally known talent in media such as sculpture, painting, prints, and drawings. Following the renovations of adjoining Bedford Hall, an outdoor sculpture garden will house many of the large-scale, three-dimensional works from the Blanton Collection.

"The addition of the Jack Blanton Gallery to this Center will enable our students to be not only inspired by their teachers and fellow students, but by the art that surrounds them," said Dr. Cormier. "This building and the art it holds will be a wonderful addition to our campus, continuing our mission to surround our Longwood family with art and ideas that inspire."