James W. Miller Auditorium1903 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
ABOUT THIS THEATRE
The dream of an auditorium on the Western Michigan University campus dates back to 1915, when Governor Woodbridge N. Ferris signed a bill to appropriate funds allowing WMU to build four new buildings, including a center for the performing arts. As America struggled through the Great Depression and two World Wars, lack of available materials delayed the project more than once until the appropriated funds outlived their days, leaving support for planning, construction and actualization inadequate. In 1944, money donated by the Upjohn Corporation was used to purchase the old campus golf course, affectionately referred to as "The Goat Hills" because of its hilly terrain. Construction began in 1965 and 5.5 million dollars later, the curtain raised for the first time on January 12, 1968, to a full house. At Miller Auditoriums grand opening celebration in 1968, Western Michigan University president James W. Miller promised that the new building would present the performing arts "not as culture for culture's sake, but for the enrichment of the lives of our students, our faculty and our friends in the community." Over 35 years later, Miller Auditorium is still ranked as one of the top ten facilities in the United States, and is the third largest theatre in Michigan. Miller Auditorium has always been careful to never lose sight of its purpose in the cultural landscape of the community, and has become the premier center for performing arts not only in Kalamazoo, but also in all of Southwest Michigan.
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