Groundbreaking on the Wold Performing Arts Center to feature theatrical flourish

50-foot stage and surprise curtain drop to highlight event on campus

Published Nov. 11, 2008

Lynn University will host an official groundbreaking ceremony for the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m., on the theater’s future site. But rather than a traditional ground breaking featuring donors and campus officials with golden shovels, this event will be, well, a bit more dramatic (featuring, for example, a large, 50-by-70 foot stage and dramatic curtain drop).

Lynn President Kevin M. Ross, Conservatory of Music Dean Jon Robertson, Florida’s “First Lady of Theater” Jan McArt, and Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel will be on hand to celebrate the ceremonial start of construction and honor the vision and support of lead donor Elaine J. Wold, who has committed $9.3 million for construction of the theater that will bear her – and her late husband’s – name. The 20-minute groundbreaking ceremony will be open to the entire Lynn University community as well as invited guests, and will end with a surprise flourish befitting the site’s future function.

Wold began supporting Lynn’s fledgling theater arts program in 2003 with $1 million gift that created the Keith C. Wold, MD Memorial Fund for the Development of Theater Arts, in honor of her late husband. In May of 2007, the university publicly announced Elaine J. Wold’s gift of $6 million through her foundation toward the construction of The Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center. In his State of the University address last month, President Ross announced that Wold had more recently made an additional $2.3 million challenge grant in support of the theater.

Today, Wold’s vision is on the verge of becoming a reality. The 750-seat performing arts center will be home to live theatrical performances by the university's theater arts program and professional Live at Lynn series, as well as Conservatory of Music concerts and other university-hosted events. The center will feature superb acoustics, a modern lighting system, a large, light-filled lobby, and flexible space well-suited for dramatic productions, concerts, and other cultural events. With an elegant salon, outdoor sunset terrace and intimate rehearsal studio, this transformational new center will offer opportunities for teaching, learning and performing.

“Elaine is truly a difference maker in our community, and her grace and generosity will have a tremendous impact on our students,” said President Ross at his annual State of the University address.

The Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, designed by nationally acclaimed architect Herbert S. Newman, is scheduled to be completed in December 2009 and will be the first building constructed on Lynn’s campus in five years – and the first building since Ross was named president.