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University to build 'Roger Glass Center for the Arts'

The University of Dayton’s first building dedicated to visual and performing arts will be named for local entrepreneur and philanthropist Roger Glass ‘67, president and CEO of Marion’s Piazza.

The Roger Glass Center for the Arts, at the southeast corner of Main and Stewart streets, will elevate the arts on campus and provide greater connection with the Dayton community through concerts, dance and theater performances, and art exhibits featuring students, faculty, visiting artists, and community members. Glass, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from UD, is the lead donor on the project.

“When I went to UD, everything was scattered,” Glass said. “This is an opportunity for all of the arts at UD to come together and have an amazing place to display their talents. Not only the university but the community will be able to ​​take advantage of the center for the arts.”

The $45 million, 51,000-square-foot center will include flexible space for theater, dance and performance technology students to experiment and innovate; a 400-seat concert hall that can be acoustically tuned to groups ranging from the orchestra to smaller ensembles; and a visible and accessible art gallery. The center also will provide custom-built experiential learning space for student-managed media — Flyer News, Flyer TV and Flyer Radio  — to prepare for careers in media. Student demand for the academic and experiential learning programs to be featured in the Roger Glass Center has been growing stronger for many years.

“The great thing about the facility, and really the great thing about arts at the University of Dayton, is there are so many students involved from all areas — engineers in our orchestra and English majors in our acting troupe,” said President Eric F. Spina. “The arts have really grown here, and the students need a facility like this. It’s a gift to our students, to the University, and to the community, and we thank Roger for his generosity in making this facility possible.”

The project will further develop and make use of a former brownfield the University purchased from NCR when the company left Dayton. The center, designed to meet LEED-gold environmental standards, was designed in consultation with local arts organizations to complement existing venues in the region. The concert hall and other assets of the center are new for campus and will help the University recruit students interested in the arts. 

“Our faculty and students really need a space of this caliber,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jason Pierce. “The arts center is integral to who we are as a Catholic and Marianist institution. We're committed to educating the whole person, and the arts play a critical role. We've long had established arts and performance programs here, and now we're matching those academic programs with the facility.”

The project has support from 120 donors, including Martha M. Walter, whose 2002 bequest for a future arts center was critical to making the facility possible. Donors also include faculty and staff who wished to support the vision for the arts center.

“We are so grateful for the support of the donors who made this possible, for their appreciation of what the arts mean to the University and to our students, and for their commitment to making these opportunities available for UD’s students now and far into the future,” said Julia Randel, chair of the department of music.

The University's Board of Trustees approved the project Nov. 15, and construction is expected to begin almost immediately. The facility is tentatively scheduled to be open for the 2023-24 academic year. 


News and Communications Staff