Organ Dedication on Saturday, April 21, 2012

October 19, 2011

Mark your calendars for the Organ Dedication in the Richardson Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 21, 2012 during Founders Day Weekend.

We will be celebrating the dedication of the REUTER ORGAN with an ORGAN CONCERT in the new Richardson Performing Arts Center. Featured organists are James Strand and James Leland.


Richardson Performing Arts Center Dedication

October 8, 2011

Watch video of the dedication of the new Richardson Performing Arts Center:



Kaleidoscope Concert Features SC Alumni; Richardson Performing Arts Center to be Dedicated

October 05, 2011

Southwestern College alumni will join forces with members of the A Cappella Choir, SC Singers, and South Kansas Symphony for the 2011 Kaleidoscope program Saturday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. The program will follow the official dedication of the Richardson Performing Arts Center in the Christy Administration Building.

"We are thrilled to be able to dedicate this renewed space, and so happy that many of the alumni that contributed and helped us to get to this day are going to be performing with us in the inaugural concert," says David Gardner, director of choirs at Southwestern.

The evening will begin with the official dedication led by Southwestern College President Dick Merriman and board of trustees chair David Smith.

The musical selections for the evening are traditional and historical to Southwestern. Music to be performed includes "Beautiful Savior," "A Mighty Fortress," and selections from "Elijah." Daniel Stevens, conductor of the South Kansas Symphony, will be viola soloist alongside 1966 Southwestern graduate Leora Kline, who will play violin. "We are ecstatic to have Leora Kline back to perform on stage," Stevens says. "Her experience in the professional world will highlight the excellent acoustics found within the Richardson Performing Arts Center."

Following the performance, Southwestern College artist in residence Brandon Blackburn will be featured as he performs with a jazz trio in the lobby of Christy Administration Building.

There is no admission charge to the Kaleidoscope performance and overflow seating will be available in Messenger Recital Hall in the Darbeth Fine Arts Center. For more information, call (620) 229-6272.


SC Meets Mabee Challenge

February 23, 2011


A check for nearly $1 million is in hand at Southwestern College after college supporters met the terms of a challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation. The challenge grant provides funding for the key facilities priorities of the college's Great Performances Campaign capital projects—construction of the Richardson Performing Arts Center and the Richard L. Jantz Stadium.

Donors committed almost $5 million for the two projects, with the capping grant provided by the Tulsa foundation. Gifts committed for the Great Performances Campaign recently topped $15 million.

"We are fired up and ready to start work on the auditorium project," said president Dick Merriman. He added, "We're grateful to the thousands of alumni, parents, friends, businesses, and other organizations that have supported our facilities fund-raising. When completed, the projects will move the college, and the community, into the first rank in our region."

Construction of the stadium and renovation of the auditorium coincide with the college's celebration of its 125th anniversary: Jantz Stadium was dedicated during Homecoming in October 2010, and construction on the performing arts center will begin this month with dedication scheduled for Homecoming 2011.

The auditorium work is part of a larger effort to improve performing arts facilities at the college. The college plans to create a technical theater center in a remodeled building at the east edge of campus. The center will allow construction of sets, storage of costumes, and other technical work to be done in a large, era-appropriate space. The college is also refurbishing its large Reuter pipe organ. The instrument will be reinstalled, along with a new console, in the Richardson Performing Arts Center in fall of 2011.

President Merriman applauded the campaign leadership of Richard Jantz and James Farney, who led the stadium fund-drive, and Ken and Madeline Norland of Winfield, who are co-chairs of the performing arts segment of the campaign. In addition to the campaign's volunteer leadership, Merriman acknowledged the college's advancement and communications staff, led by Mike Farrell, vice president for institutional advancement, and Sara Weinert, vice president for communications.

"The spirit of a space is so much more than a destination. It is the opportunity for great experiences," says Madeline Norland. "With Richardson Performing Arts Center and Jantz Stadium, we—the community of Winfield and those who love SC—now have the opportunity for life-enriching times. How lucky we are!"

The Mabee Foundation assists religious, charitable, and educational organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Recent Mabee Foundation grants to Southwestern College have supported the construction of the Beech Science Center and Mabee Laboratories, and the renovation of Mossman Hall. The college will name the press box of the new stadium in recognition of the Mabee Foundation's generous and catalytic challenge grant.


SC Fund Drive Gets Big Boost from Mabee Foundation

January 22, 2010


Two big facilities projects at Southwestern College – construction of a new stadium and renovation of the college’s main auditorium to create a performing arts center – got a big boost with notification last week that the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation has issued a challenge grant for $959,000 to the college.   The foundation is headquartered in Tulsa, Okla.

Under the terms of the challenge grant, Southwestern College has one year to secure pledges for 80% of the roughly $4.8 million needed for the two projects.  If the college’s fund drive meets this goal, the Mabee Foundation will provide the final 20% needed to complete project funding.  

“The math is pretty simple,” said college president Dick Merriman.  “We currently have cash and pledges totaling $2.6 million for the two projects.  We need additional commitments of $1.3 million to reach the 80% mark and claim the challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation to complete funding for the projects.” 

The college is accepting pledges payable over three to five years for the projects. 

“We don’t need to have cash in hand to meet the Mabee Foundation challenge,” Merriman noted, “just firm pledge commitments from individuals and organizations.” 

The Mabee Foundation assists religious, charitable, and educational organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  Recent Mabee Foundation grants to Southwestern College have supported the construction of the Beech Science Center and Mabee Laboratories, and the renovation of Mossman Hall.   

 “We’re most grateful to the Mabee Foundation for this latest challenge grant and for all they have done, down through the years, to help the college,” Merriman stated. “Their grants, and the gifts they motivate through their challenges, have changed the face of Southwestern in very positive ways.”

The college’s new stadium, to be named for leadership donor Richard L. Jantz, will have a synthetic turf playing surface for football and soccer and a new eight-lane oval for track events.  ADA-compliant home grandstand seating for 3,000 and visitor seating of 600 will be built.  The stadium will include a press box complex providing accommodations for coaches, broadcasters, and game administrators.  Restrooms and a concession stand facility will be built at the south end of the stadium.  The facility will host athletic contests for Southwestern College and Winfield High School, Commencement exercises for both schools, and other community events.

The second performance venue slated for improvement with campaign funds is the auditorium in the Christy Administration Building which will be renovated to create an up-to-date performing arts center.   The goal of the renovation, said Merriman, is to create a beautiful and well-equipped performing arts center that will properly support teaching, rehearsal, and performances, along with major lectures and convocations.  The renovation will include a box office, ADA-compliant seating, new seats, production and technical areas in the rear of the hall, a reconfigured hall to improve acoustics, and significant improvements for staging and production of concerts, plays, and lectures.

“We have the opportunity, now, to dramatically improve two facilities that are crucial for the quality of life in Winfield.  We have 12 months to reach our goal, and we’ll need help from everyone who loves Winfield and loves Southwestern,” concluded Merriman.


Why We’re for Great Performances

By Tom Wallrabenstein ’59

Mari and I moved to Winfield in 1957 to enroll at Southwestern College as transfer students from California. The college was still building to reestablish itself following the devastating fire that had destroyed the impressive building on the hill—Richardson Hall. Residents still talked of the fire—watching the burning that was to be a crucial turning point for both Winfield and Southwestern College.

The fire rallied the town! Richardson was to be rebuilt!

The exterior stone walls retained the impressive structure, but inside, utilitarian classrooms and offices made possible classroom life. The auditorium was a big, white box—adequate to house chapel, assemblies, and almost adequate for music and drama. It had, from the rebuilding, acoustic problems that made sound come and go inside the shell.

Over the years, modest improvements in paint and carpet have been made, along with adjustments to the stage to make it handicap accessible. But the acoustic problems remain.

We have waited 50 years to become participants in the needed renovation to this important space, for the needs of the college and for the use of the community! We have been asked to help with this renovation, and are very pleased that we can make a contribution that will address these critical needs.

We want to hear the symphony, understand the words of the actors, enjoy the senior recitals, and celebrate honored speakers to our city.

We invite you to join us to make Richardson reborn!

(Tom and Mari Wallrabenstein ’59 ’60 are donors to the performing arts center project of the Great Performances campaign.)


Ken and Madeline Norland by Sara Severance Weinert

First published in The Southwesterner Fall 2009 Special Edition

Ken and Madeline Norland don’t always agree on everything. When asked their favorite performance of the dozens they’ve seen in Richardson Auditorium, they answer almost simultaneously.

“The last one,” Madeline says.

“The next one,” Ken replies.

But whatever the performance, the Norlands will be in attendance. For them, it’s a quality of life issue. Whether living in Chase County, or in Fort Worth, or Winfield, their life together has been marked by advice given to a young Madeline: Never miss a live performance, a teacher told her.

That’s only one aspect of a lifestyle that has incorporated art into every facet. Madeline, who earned art degrees from Southwestern and Bethany College as well as hours toward a graduate degree from the University of North Texas, has taught art professionally and on a volunteer basis. She plays violin in the South Kansas Symphony, and for the past five years has been gaining proficiency on the mandolin as one of the local “Mando Mammas.”

Ken’s artistry reveals itself at the Bluestem Bed and Breakfast, their home east of Winfield. They started sketching plans for this country retreat during their 19 years in Fort Worth, always hearing the prairie calling them home.

“We would ask ourselves, ‘What would our dream house look like?’ and we knew it would have a courtyard, and three porches, and good social flow for entertaining,” Madeline recalls.

This is the house that now sits on the family farm, its low silhouette nestling into the curves of the hill. The early rounds of guests (“The first ones were here on 7-07-07!”) are now on their third annual return trips.

Ken oversaw such details as installation of low-silled windows (the perfect height for Jack, their aging terrier, to peer down the driveway), and muscling boulders into place for a nearby prayer labyrinth. He shows visitors the new amphitheatre, where the Norlands dream of hosting guest musicians.

It’s this dream of making Winfield a regional leader in live performances that has prompted the Norlands’ involvement with Great Performances. As co-chairs of the campaign, they envision a project that will involve the entire community.

“One of my views is that the more the community is involved, the more it will have full ownership of the project,” Madeline stresses. She loves the idea of grade school children contributing pennies and nickels toward the renovation of the auditorium, learning to love music and theatre in that space.

“We’ll be reaching out in to the community to show them how exciting a performing arts space can be,” she says.

WDM Architects of Wichita, Kansas has been chosen to design the renovated auditorium at Southwestern College.

Ken and Madeline Norland have agreed to serve as co-chairs for the Performing Arts focus of the college’s Great Performances Campaign.