New UD performing arts center to be named for Marion’s Piazza CEO

The performance arts center that the University of Dayton plans to build at the southeast corner of Main and Stewart streets will named for local entrepreneur and philanthropist Roger Glass, president and CEO of Marion’s Piazza.

The university says the new Roger Glass Center for the Arts is expected to open in the 2023-2024 school year.

“When I went to UD, everything was scattered,” Glass said. “This is an opportunity for all of the arts at UD to come together and have an amazing place to display their talents. Not only the university but the community will be able to take advantage of the center for the arts.”

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The facility will cost about $45 million and be around 51,000 square feet, built to efficient, “green” standards that would earn LEED certification, UD said.

The building will have flexible space for theater, dance, and performance technology students; a 400-seat concert hall and an art gallery, UD said in a press release. A band practice field that acts as an “outdoor classroom” will remain.

The project has been approved by the board of trustees and construction will begin immediately.

The facility will be on a former brownfield that UD purchased from NCR when the company left Dayton. Dayton city commission overruled the Dayton Plan Board in September and said the university would be able to cut down five mature gingko trees on the property.

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The university says the building “will elevate the arts on campus and provide greater connection with the Dayton community through concerts, dance and theater performances, and art exhibits featuring students, faculty, visiting artists, and community members.”

They said the arts center was designed in consultation with local arts organizations to complement existing venues in the region.

University officials also say the new facility will help recruit students interested in the arts.

Glass holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from UD and graduated in 1967. UD declined to say exactly how much Glass had donated, but said he was the lead donor for the project.

The center also will provide custom-built experiential learning space for student-managed media, including Flyer News, Flyer TV and Flyer Radio, to prepare students for careers in media.

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Student demand for the academic and experiential learning programs to be featured in the Roger Glass Center has been growing stronger for many years, UD said.

“The great thing about the facility, and really the great thing about arts at the University of Dayton, is there are so many students involved from all areas — engineers in our orchestra and English majors in our acting troupe,” said President Eric F. Spina. “The arts have really grown here, and the students need a facility like this. It’s a gift to our students, to the university, and to the community, and we thank Roger for his generosity in making this facility possible.”

The project has support from 120 donors, including Martha M. Walter, whose 2002 bequest for a future arts center was critical to making the facility possible, UD said. Donors also include faculty and staff who support the vision for the arts center.

“We are so grateful for the support of the donors who made this possible, for their appreciation of what the arts mean to the university and to our students, and for their commitment to making these opportunities available for UD’s students now and far into the future,” said Julia Randel, chair of the department of music.

A stadium at Chaminade Julienne High School is also named after Glass.

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