Auditorium is renamed for Morgans
Nearly 86 years to the day after Founders Hall was first proposed, the auditorium situated inside it received a new name to accompany what will be a comprehensive facilities upgrade. During the University of La Verne Board of Trustees meeting on February 4, the board – by unanimous action – accepted the request by a group of donors to rename the historic campus venue as the Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium in honor of University President Steve Morgan and his wife, Ann.
Longtime La Verne Trustee and current chair of the Board’s Development Committee Benjamin Harris spoke for the group of donors when he told the Board “our objective is to make this beautifully restored historical setting an enduring tribute to the remarkable leadership, foresight, dedication and enthusiasm that Steve and Ann have contributed to La Verne.” He later added that the Morgans “personify the best of this university. We are proud to be associated with them, and it is with the utmost joy and respect that we name this campus landmark in their honor.”
As Harris reported, by the day of the Board meeting $828,000 had been secured in gifts and pledges toward renovation of Founders Auditorium. Of that amount, $750,000 came from a select number of donors that designated gifts specifically to name the facility for the Morgans. Harris did not publicly release any donor names.
Steve Morgan, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1968 to become a third generation La Verne graduate, was unanimously approved by the Board to be the university’s 17 th president in February 1985. Since then he has guided the university through fiscal challenges and development as well as a transformational period of growth and change, all while diligently seeking to maintain the values upon which the institution was founded in 1891. During his tenure he has watched the university’s undergraduate population more than double and overall enrollment – including the regional campuses and adult learning programs – surpass 8,000 students. And he has overseen numerous expansion and enhancement projects, the most recent being the grand opening of the 40,000-square-foot Campus Center last September.
Ann Morgan, who earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from La Verne, was the inaugural chair of the university’s Facilities & Beautification Committee and served in that role for five years, helping establish priorities and supervise projects to enhance campus appearance and care. Additionally, she was involved in the Wilson Library/Landis Academic Center project in the early 1990s — at that time the largest capital project in the school’s history, the planning of the Oaks Residence Hall community, refurbishment of existing campus facilities, and preparations for hundreds of events held both on and off campus as well as numerous university events at the Morgan family home.
Founders Auditorium is located within Founders Hall, the third-oldest building on the La Verne campus and the second-oldest facility built specifically for the institution’s use. Hanawalt House, constructed by the school’s fifth president, W.C. Hanawalt, was completed in 1908. Miller Hall, named for ninth president Samuel J. Miller, first opened in 1918.
For many, Founders Auditorium brings to mind memories of stifling summer heat or bone-chilling cold in the 84-year-old building. After Friday, memories are all they will be as the massive new HVAC unit will be installed atop Founders Hall, bringing heat and air conditioning to the newly renamed Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium for the first time in school history.