The College of Visual and Performing Arts received a one million dollar donation from The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. In life, the Baughs were philanthropists. Today, their daughter and president of the foundation board, Babs Baugh, continues their legacy.
Vice President of Communications and Special Projects Paula Price Tanner said the university received many gifts from the foundation.
“The size of those gifts has steadily increased over the years, but this is the largest, by far, that the foundation has given to the university,” she said.
The recent donation was given to the College of Visual and Performing Arts to help with renovations.
“This is the first major gift toward this project. We hope that it generates interest and will lead others to
give, as well.” Tanner said.
In the spring, Dr. Randy O’Rear, Dr. Jerry Bawcom and Tanner visited with Babs Baugh and her daughters Julie and Jackie. O’Rear said it took many steps to solidify the donation.
“Dr. Bawcom and Dr. Tanner had spent many months working with the Baugh family … stating … our needs on campus for visual performing arts facilities.”
This year, they decided to help the College with renovations.
“We’re pleased that (the Baughs) … have chosen to make an investment of that size in the university,” O’Rear said.
Presser is structurally sound, but it was built in a time when only small practice rooms for individual lessons were needed. Since then, the college’s needs have changed to include giant rehearsal halls, classrooms and a larger art department.
O’Rear said, “We have lots of needs. We need a new art building …. We need a band hall. We need to renovate Hughes Recital Hall. We need renovations to Presser …. At this point, I think we’re still … trying to put together the best plan for how to … adequately address the needs.”
Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes is excited about this renovation.
“The art department and the music department both do a really, really fine job. They are dedicated and talented teachers,” he said.
Barnes sees new opportunities opening up for the future because of the money being raised.
“It certainly means, in my mind, better teaching, better instruction (and) better scholarship through better facilities,” Barnes said.
The senior leadership met this past spring and summer about the project.
Tanner said this fall the faculty and staff will comment on the plans.
“Once that summary is finished, we expect to resume work on the visual and performing arts project and make some definite plans about where facilities will be, what they will be and … secure the funds needed
to build them.”
These new facilities will affect the entire community.
Tanner said, “The fine arts have an impact that extends beyond the students who study in that college. They
also form a special bridge to the communities around us.”