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Updated 10:00 AM October 15, 2007




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RC Theater receives $1M

Kenneth Keene, retired senior vice president of Johnson & Higgins — since acquired by Marsh & McLennan — and his wife, Janet, have given LSA a gift of $1 million to renovate the Residential College (RC) theater that was retrofitted into the East Quadrangle Residence Hall in 1967, when the RC living-learning community was established.

When completed, the facility will be named The Keene Theater, in recognition of their generosity.

"We were attracted to the project because we were very impressed with the concept of the Residential College," Janet Keene says. "It is a small, intimate environment where students and professors work closely together, yet within a large university."

The renovations to the auditorium will include updating the Kennedy-era lighting system and control booth, as well as installing state of the art projection and sound equipment. Upgrades will make the front entrance more accessible and address the cramped backstage area. New seating, carpeting, curtains and other interior remodeling will complete the theater's much needed facelift and make the décor consistent with the age and historic character of the East Quad building, which was constructed in 1940.

The Residential College auditorium, which seats 220, presently is the only small-scale theater on Central Campus. Hundreds of students use this building each week for classes, rehearsals and performances.

"This gift is a tremendous demonstration of the significance of the Residential College," says LSA Dean Terrence McDonald. "For 40 years, the RC has been an incubator for new forms of pedagogy that have transformed many areas of LSA."

The gift is part of LSA's fundraising effort for the $2.5 billion Michigan Difference campaign.

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