It’s the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center which already has hosted nearly 60 events at East Central University since its grand opening was held Sept. 25, 2009.
A birthday party at noon Friday, Sept. 24, will celebrate the 85,000-square-foot facility’s successful first year. ECU’s huge inflatable tiger, part of every home football game, will be set up on the Centennial Plaza where hot dogs will be served and ECU’s pep band will perform.
Birthday cupcakes will be available in the lobby of the Ataloa Theatre which will be decorated for a birthday party, complete with Pin the Tail on the Tiger and other party games.
The party is free and open to the public.
Following a brief program, students will offer a different kind of tour of the building.
"You may have been on a tour of the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center before,” said ECU President John Hargrave, "but this time you’ll be able to see the building in motion. This tour will provide a glimpse of the academic areas where students will be working in the art, music and communications departments.”
The daughter and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the late Hallie Brown Ford plan to attend the party. It was the $5 million gift from Mrs. Ford that got the planning and construction of the center underway.
Hargrave will acknowledge two other generous donors to the fine arts center, the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma and Dr. Clarence Oliver, an ECU Distinguished Alumnus.
The Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma established a $100,000 endowment at ECU in May through its Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma. The endowment will help fund cultural enrichment programming in the fine arts center.
Oliver, a long-time educator and superintendent of Broken Arrow Schools, established the Vinita June (Shirley) Oliver Centennial Fine Arts Endowment in honor of his late wife. Both graduated from ECU.
The Oliver endowment, established through the ECU Foundation Inc., will provide financial support for fine arts programming at the fine arts center and other ECU facilities. The endowment is the first step toward matching the Masonic Endowment for Cultural Enrichment.
Also at the party, head football coach Tim McCarty and the ECU football team will talk about the game on Saturday, Sept. 25, against Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and the cheerleaders and pep band will perform.