(Posted April 10, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College President Thomas R. Kepple will dedicate the new Marlene and Barry Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts, an $8.3 million renovation and construction project that has renovated the college's performance hall, Rosenberger Auditorium, and added a new theatre space and classroom facilities, at 4 p.m., Friday, April 21, in front of the center.

"The Halbritter Center is an invaluable addition for our students and for the Huntingdon community," Kepple says. "Marlene and Barry Halbritter have given us an outstanding facility to educate our students, while offering our neighbors in surrounding communities exciting new spaces to see avant-garde theatre and nationally known entertainers."

The dedication ceremony will begin with opening remarks by President Kepple, followed by speeches accepting the new building from representatives of the student body, the faculty and the Juniata board of trustees. The representatives are: Mandy Yeager, a sophomore from Curwensville, Pa. studying theatre; Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre; and trustee Anne Baker, an intellectual property law attorney.

There will be additional remarks by Suzanne von Liebig, one of the major donors for the facility and wife of the late William J. von Liebig, a former Juniata trustee and major donor for the von Liebig science center; and Clemens Rosenberger, retired executive director of the Children's Aid Society. Baker and Rosenberger were co-chairs of the fund-raising campaign for the arts in Juniata's Uncommon Outcomes capital campaign.

The major naming gifts for the facility were came through a donation by Barry and Marlene Halbritter, several gifts from the Rosenberger family, and a gift from the William J. von Liebig Foundation.

Barry Halbritter is a 1965 Juniata graduate with a bachelor's degree in business and has been a member of the board of trustees since 1993. He is the president and CEO of Midstate Tool & Supply Inc. The company is one of the top three suppliers of automotive tools and supplies in the nation. The Altoona-based company also sells internationally and employs more than 50 people. He also served as campaign chair for Juniata's Uncommon Outcomes capital campaign. His wife, Marlene, a 1962 Juniata graduate, also works at Midstate. The couple have made numerous campaign donations and fund three student scholarships.

The von Liebig Foundation was founded in 1975 by William J. von Liebig, who donated $18 million to the college. William J. von Liebig, a 1946 Juniata graduate and a native of Huntingdon. von Liebig, who died Feb. 21, 1999 shortly after making his generous gift, gave $14 million from the William J. von Liebig Foundation to fund much of the construction of the new science center. The new theatre in the Halbritter Center is named for Suzanne von Liebig.

After the acceptance of the building, Barry Halbritter will speak, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring President Kepple, Henry H. Gibbel, president and CEO of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. and chair of the Juniata board of trustees, Suzanne von Liebig, Clemens Rosenberger and Anne Baker
Oller Hall, which still houses Rosenberger Auditorium, was dedicated in 1940 and has been incorporated into the Halbritter complex. The auditorium seats more than 800 and has hosted such performers as the Von Trapp Family Singers, John Denver, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, Altoona, Pa. native Paul Winter, and cowboy poet Baxter Black.

As part of the dedication weekend, the college will host several arts events, beginning with a performance of the Shakespeare play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 22 in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre.

Later that evening, on April 22, the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Rosenberger Auditorium. The next day, there will be another performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at 2 p.m. in the von Liebig Theatre.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.