Winona State University announces that the Performing Arts Center will now be known as The Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center, in recognition of the contributions of the late president emeritus, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 94.
“It has been a tradition at WSU to name buildings to recognize past presidents who have provided significant leadership and made outstanding contributions to the university,” says WSU President Scott R. Olson. “We feel this is a fitting recognition of the many and distinguished contributions of Dr. DuFresne toward the development of Winona State University.”
Robert A. “Bob” DuFresne served as the 10th president of Winona State University from 1967-1977. He enjoyed an extensive career in both education and academic administration, and his tenure has been recognized as a substantial turning point in the university’s history.
Learn more about Dr. DuFresne’s life and career in the 2005 WSU Living History Project documentary.
President Olson credits Dr. DuFresne with guiding the institution during its “coming of age,” including its transition in status to a regional comprehensive university and the completion of nine major construction and renovation projects.
“There is Winona State ‘Before Bob’ and ‘After Bob,’” he explains. “It was during his time that the College became a University. It was during his time that some of our core values – such as scholarship and community engagement – first emerged. And then there are the facilities he brought into being: Memorial Hall, Minné Hall, Maxwell Hall, Sheehan Hall, much of Kryzsko Commons, and of course, the Performing Arts Center.”
The Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center has served as a center for campus arts and entertainment since its opening in 1971. Today, the DuFresne PAC is home to the Vivian R. Fusillo Main Stage Theatre, the Dorothy B. Magnus Black Box Theatre and the Recital Hall, where each year six to eight plays, dance performances, and over 20 music concerts are presented. The building serves the Theatre and Dance, Music and Communication Studies departments, and accommodates the Box Office and Costume Shop.
Additionally, since 2004 the DuFresne PAC has served as the home of the Great River Shakespeare Festival each summer, hosting world-class theatre productions by a professional theatre company, supporting student internships, and hosting visitors from around the state, country and globe.
A formal dedication of The Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center is planned at a later date.
“Few presidents have had as much impact on WSU as Dr. Bob DuFresne,” said President Olson. “The Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center is a fitting tribute to a man who is integral to the history of Winona State. It stands as a reminder of Dr. DuFresne’s considerable impact on our university and his role in creating the Winona State University we know and love today.”
For more information, call the WSU Office of Marketing and Communications at 507-457-5024.