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(Posted October 13, 2000)

Juniata trustee Barry J. Halbritter has been a part of the Juniata College community for nearly his entire life. As a child, the 1965 graduate attended church activities on the Juniata campus and Juniata was first on Halbritter?s list of colleges to attend.

On Thursday, October 12, Halbritter and his wife Marlene, a 1962 graduate, strengthened that bond when they committed $2 million to support the Campaign for the Arts at Juniata College. The gift will provide much-needed enhancements to Oller Hall and will provide for a new black box theatre to create the bona fide Performing Arts Center at Juniata.

The Campaign for the Arts is part of the college?s comprehensive Uncommon Outcomes Campaign launched in April. The goal of the overall campaign is $70 million. As of October 12, 2000 $54,156,000 has been raised. The Campaign for the Arts portion has raised $2,531,700 as of October 12, against a goal of $4,500,000.

The new theatre will be a thoroughly flexible performance space allowing the relationship of audience and actors to change with each production. The planned improvements to Oller Hall and the existing Rosenberger Auditorium and the construction of the new theatre will allow the auditorium to be used primarily for musical and speaking events. Enhancements to the auditorium include a new acoustical shell to provide the best sound possible for musical performances; a new entrance plaza and lobby; an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system; fully accessible rest rooms, and concealed coat storage. Below the black box theatre, there will be an additional rehearsal and classroom space with a spring-mounted floor for teaching movement, three theatre faculty offices, a green room, dressing rooms, a make-up room, and storage rooms.

With two major performance spaces, Juniata will be able to simultaneously schedule theatrical and musical rehearsals and productions, allowing for a greater number of events, and ensuring that each performance has space with the needed qualities.

Having the space, however, means nothing if Juniata doesn?t continue to attract students interested in the arts and professors who bring out the best in those students. The Campaign for the Arts includes support to endow sixteen student scholarships and to create endowed professorships to continue to build on the fine and performing arts tradition that began more than a century ago.

A successful local businessman, Mr. Halbritter is the president and CEO of Midstate Tool & Supply, Inc., one of the top three distributors of tools and related supplies in the United States. He also serves as president of Fender Mender Sales, Inc. of Altoona. In 1997, Midstate Tool & Supply was inducted into the Blair County Business Hall of Fame, and in 1999 Mr. Halbritter and his brother Robert, a 1963 Juniata graduate and vice president of the company, were among the select finalists for the Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Mr. Halbritter currently chairs the college?s Uncommon Outcomes Campaign.

Mr. Halbritter is an involved member of the community, contributing his time and energy to the Kiwanis Club and numerous professional organizations. He was nominated by the Pennsylvania District as Kiwanis International Trustee, has served as past governor of the Pa. District, and has been actively involved in the organization since 1961, having served as a charter member of the Circle K Club at Juniata.

His other civic associations have included the Altoona Symphony Orchestra Board, Home Nursing Agency, the Blair Chamber of Commerce, and the Blair County Board of Assistance, among many others. He is active in the Church of the Brethren, locally and district-wide. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Morrison Cove Home and served as Chairman for a number of years. The Home recognized Mr. Halbritter and his wife, Marlene, graphics manager at Midstate Tool & Supply, Inc., in 1997 with their Distinguished Service Award.

Mr. and Mrs. Halbritter received the Juniata College Distinguished Service Award in 1997. Mr. Halbritter?s service to Juniata College has been extensive. He was appointed to the college?s Board of Trustees in 1993. He has served on the Board of Trustees as the Church of the Brethren Middle District representative for three years, the President's Development Council for thirteen years, and for six years as a member of the Church College Relations Council. He served as chair of The Juniata Fund (the college?s annual fund campaign), and as class reunion coordinator. Mr. Halbritter has participated in Juniata College Career Days and is a frequent participant in presenting lectures and seminars to Juniata business students.

Mr. and Mrs. Halbritter?s commitment to Juniata was recognized in 1994 with the naming of the Halbritter Plaza of Cloister Hall on the Juniata campus.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.