Campaign to complete Presser Hall renovations is launched.
For more than 85 years Presser Hall has been the home to music at Illinois Wesleyan.
The last major renovation to Presser came in 1970 following a devastating fire. Over
the course of the intervening years, little changed until 2009 when a gift from Coyner
’54 and Donna Smith provided funds to begin the much-needed renewal of Presser’s public
spaces and the venerable Westbrook Auditorium — but more needs to be done.
“We are deeply grateful to Coyner and Donna Smith for their generous and ongoing support
of our students and in their leadership gifts for the campaign to renew Presser Hall,”
said Mario Pelusi, director of the School of Music.
Phase two of the campaign, which is part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, focuses
on renewing the more than 40 rehearsal and practice rooms of Presser Hall and the
adjoining Alice Millar Center. This project includes much-needed replacement of practice
room pianos and the main performance grand piano.
“Coyner knows from his time as a student that the classroom for music students is
where they practice and rehearse,” said Provost and Dean of the Faculty Jonathan Green,
who also is professor of music and choral director. “This makes renewing these areas
so important to attracting and training music students now and in the future, and
we are exceedingly fortunate that Coyner and Donna Smith have once again stepped forward
with a leadership gift to continue the renewal of Presser Hall.”
The campaign seeks to raise $750,000, which includes a matching gift of $250,000 from
Giving opportunities include:
• $1,000 for seat sponsorships in the 550 seats in Westbrook Auditorium, with funds
going toward renewal of practice rooms
• $20,000 - $35,000 for remodeling one of the practice rooms, including a new Boston
or Steinway piano
• $12,000 for a new practice room Boston piano
• $100,000 to remodel the Percussion Suite
• $150,000 to remodel the Choir Rehearsal Room
• $150,000 for a new concert grand piano
• $2,500 for an annual school of music scholarship, or $50,000 for an endowed scholarship
The campaign will also begin raising funds to refurbish Westbrook Auditorium’s Schantz
pipe organ, installed in the early 1960s. The total cost of this multi-year project
is projected to be $600,000.