Dr. Hill and students

Strategic vision unveiled; new Center for the Arts announced

Facility to be named for Rosalind S. Richardson

Richardson Center for the Arts Richardson group with rendering 382x255
The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts will become home to academic programs in theatre arts, visual arts and art history.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College Board of Trustees today (Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014) approved and unveiled the college’s strategic vision and announced the first facility included in the plan – The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts.

Wofford alumnus and trustee Jerry Richardson (Class of 1959), founder and owner of the Carolina Panthers, provided the gift for the center in honor of his wife’s commitment and dedication to the arts. 

“It has been my good fortune that Rosalind agreed to marry me many years ago,” Richardson says. “It gives me great pleasure to honor my wife with the naming of this facility dedicated to the arts on the Wofford campus, my alma mater. Rosalind’s love of art and our love of Wofford are a perfect match in making this vision for the college a reality.” 

The Wofford Board of Trustees along with hundreds of members of the campus community – faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and former board members – came together over the past 18 months to create “It’s Our Wofford: A Strategic Vision for Wofford College,” a six-point strategic vision for the college as it moves through the next decades. 

The overarching vision states: “Wofford College will be a premier, innovative and distinctive national liberal arts college defined by excellence, engagement and transformation in its commitment to prepare superior students for meaningful lives as citizens, leaders and scholars.” 

The six major recommendations in the strategic vision are:

• Educate Superior Students: The Vision of Academic Excellence
• Prepare Exemplary Leaders and Citizens: The Vision of the Student Experience
• Recruit and Retain Talented Students: The Vision of Enrollment
• Strengthen the Community: The Vision of the Wofford Experience
• Enhance the College: The Vision of the Sustainable Physical Campus
• Make it Happen: Supporting the Vision

Each point has elements and plans to reach each goal.

“Hundreds of people who love Wofford – our trustees, our students, our faculty and staff, along with our committed alumni and parents – made this vision possible,” says President Nayef H. Samhat. “They spent hours and hours in listening sessions and discussions of what Wofford is and what we should be as we strive to teach and create leaders and citizens for the 21st century, and I thank them for all of their hard work.

“It is perfect that we are able to announce the new Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts today as we embark on making our vision a reality,” Samhat continues. “An arts center plays a vital role in the Wofford community because it embodies imagination, invention and collaboration. No matter what fields or disciplines students pursue, a strong arts program promotes a creative approach that is critical to success in today’s complex world. As we develop a more vibrant community in and out of the classroom, we need to provide a stronger presence for the interdisciplinary, creative activities supported by theater and the visual arts.”

Harold Chandler, chairman of the board of trustees, lauded those involved in the process and thanked the Richardsons for their commitment to Wofford and for the gift of The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts. “Significant, even transformational, decisions have been announced today by Wofford College. They are the crafting of a bold strategic vision for the college’s future directed by our president, Dr. Nayef Samhat, and the decision by the Richardson family to assume the leadership role in making this vision become reality,” he says. “The impact on the lives of our students, professors and many others for years to come cannot be overstated. The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts at Wofford is the latest example of Jerry Richardson’s unique model of leadership, generosity and commitment to others. As in so many aspects of his life of service, this gift reaches well beyond our Wofford community, outward to the people of both Carolinas, our region and beyond. My personal thanks include that of a grateful college, its trustee and countless other individuals in our city and country.”

The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts will become home to academic programs in theatre arts, visual arts and art history. “Each of these three programs reaches out to invite both the campus and the wider Upstate community to experience performances, exhibitions and lectures that will enrich, inform and transform daily lives,” says Dr. Karen Goodchild, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art History.

The 54,500-square-foot building will feature a material pallet of limestone, brick and copper. Large areas of glass will connect the interior to the outdoors, filling art studios with natural light and creating a sense of transparency and openness between spaces and across an outdoor sculpture garden. The building will be energy efficient and will feature high-performance theatrical lighting, rigging and audiovisual systems.

Key elements of The Rosalind S. Richardson Center for the Arts are:

• 300-seat performance hall with a modified thrust stage and fly loft; the audience area will be about 4,000 square feet and the stage 2,600 square feet
• Museum for Wofford’s permanent collection, approximately 2,000 square feet
• Student gallery, approximately 1,000 square feet for rotating shows
• Black box theater, approximately 2,500 square feet
• Dressing rooms and green room
• Scene shop, approximately 1,500 square feet
• Acting studio
• Costume design studio
• Painting studio
• Mixed media studio
• Ceramics studio
• Technology studio
• Seminar classrooms
• Faculty offices

The building’s namesake, Rosalind Sallenger Richardson, a native of Florence, S.C., attended Winthrop University in the late 1950s, and her husband established a fully endowed scholarship there in honor of his wife. Mrs. Richardson was awarded an honorary bachelor of arts degree from Winthrop in 1996. The Richardsons have two children, Mark Richardson and Ashley Richardson Allen, a member of the Wofford Board of Trustees; their son Jon Richardson died in 2013. Grandson Johnson Richardson played football for Wofford and graduated in 2010, and granddaughter Rose played volleyball for Wofford and graduated in 2013.

Other facilities in Wofford’s strategic vision include:

• Academic space for the expansion of the sciences, including the environmental studies program, to replace the existing Black Science Annex
• An arena for intercollegiate athletics
• Marsh Hall (a residence hall for first-year students) evaluation
• A new Greek Village to replace the current Fraternity Row
• An Academic Commons within the Sandor Teszler Library; this would involve the redesigning of the library as a connecting point for student scholarship, learning resources and cutting-edge technology
• The Wofford Exchange – a multifunctional civic learning, sustainability and engagement hub that actively encourages the exchange of ideas, conversation and support during the day and hosts student social functions at night – in the Campus Life Building

These projects all are dependent on fundraising efforts and additional information will be made available as those fundraising efforts progress.

Visit www.wofford.edu/strategicvision to learn more.