September 24, 2002
Former Purdue president stages gift for wife
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Former Purdue President Arthur G. Hansen of Zionsville, Ind., today (Tuesday, 9/24) surprised his wife, Nancy, by giving a $1.8 million gift to name Purdue's new Visual and Performing Arts Building proscenium theater in her honor.
The Nancy T. Hansen Theatre will seat 310 in the building now under construction at Marsteller and Wood streets.
Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said, "This generous gift is the largest to date for this exciting project. The fact that it comes from President Emeritus Hansen, who earned his degree as an engineer, truly underscores the fact that Purdue is a place where art and science intersect."
Hansen, who married Nancy Tucker in 1972 during his tenure as Purdue's eighth president (1971 to 1982), said: "When I learned about the opportunity to fund the theater, I thought it was only appropriate to name the theater after Nancy, who is so passionate about the arts. The Visual and Performing Arts Building is important to Purdue's campus, because it will symbolize the arts opportunities offered at Purdue. People need to know Purdue is more than an engineering school."
Hansen said he hopes to raise an additional $200,000 from family and friends.
The $38 million, 166,700-square-foot Visual and Performing Arts Building will house all of Purdue's academic arts: art and design, theater, music and dance. These divisions are found around campus in Stewart Center, Lambert Field House, Matthews Hall and in five Quonset huts that date back to World War II.
"Bringing together all of the academic arts under one roof will provide a synergy not available when you have your faculty spread out across campus," said David Sigman, head of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. "I look forward to a lot more collaborative projects among our arts faculty.
"And we will have a building that will serve both our academic needs and provide facilities to our local community to visit and explore the arts with us, by attending dance performances, gallery showings and theater productions."
The seating in the new theater is nearly double that of the Experimental Theatre in Stewart Center. Despite its increased size, the Hansen Theatre's design will preserve the intimate atmosphere the Experimental Theatre offers audiences, Sigman said.
Hansen's gift will equip the new theater with such technology as a trapped stage to allow directors to experiment with different entrances and exits for plays. The new theater also will have a technical control suite and a fly system; the latter provides for the lifting of sets and people off the stage.
"I expect future Purdue theater productions to be more complex because of the new technology," Sigman said. "Students will have the opportunity to work with equipment that they will encounter in a professional theater."
The building is being constructed of Purdue red brick, limestone and glass sections that are necessary for artistic lighting. Most recently, "Transformation," an outdoor sculpture commissioned by the Class of 1952, was installed near the building's entrance.
Hansen's $1.8 million gift and an additional $2 million from private funds have been raised toward the $13 million goal to fund the building. The Indiana General Assembly provided $20.75 million to replace the aging Quonset hut structures, and Purdue also has contributed $5 million to the cost of the $38 million building.
Hansen earned two degrees from Purdue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1946 and a master's degree in mathematics in 1948. In 1958 he received his doctorate in mathematics from Case Institute of Technology. Hansen holds several honorary degrees, including a 1970 honorary doctorate in engineering from Purdue.
Prior to marrying, Nancy Tucker taught physical sciences in a Department of Defense program for children of military personnel in Iceland and the Philippines. The Hansens' relationship roots began at Purdue, where they first met in 1946 when Nancy was a freshman and Arthur was a teaching assistant. At the end of the year, Nancy transferred to Butler University where she received her bachelor's degree, then she received her master's from Indiana University. The pair was reunited when he was named president of Purdue.
Hansen's gift is part of Discover Purdue Week (Sept. 19-27), an initiative to help Indiana learn more about the university.
Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Carolyn Gery, associate vice president for development, (765) 494-6902, email@example.com
David Sigman, (765) 494-3056, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO 1 CAPTION:
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/hansens.lunch.jpeg.
PHOTO 2 CAPTION:
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/hansen.vpagift3.jpeg.
IMAGE 3 CAPTION:
A publication-quality image is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/hansen.vpagift.jpeg.
IMAGE CAPTION: Theatre cut-away view
A publication-quality image is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/hansen.vpagift2.jpeg.
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