75 Years of Ida Waldran Auditorium

Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of the Ida Waldran Auditorium.

Ida Waldran Auditorium opened on May 23, 1937 and has become one of UCA’s most recognizable facilities on campus. Ida Waldran, located in Old Main, has been the host location of significant people and events including the opening ceremonies of the Women’s Army Corps Branch No. 3 in 1943, a vocal concert by President Truman’s daughter, Margaret, and presentations by TV journalists Peter Jennings and Sam Donaldson as well as Presidents Ford and Clinton.

“Ida Waldran Auditorium has served the people of the State of Arkansas very well over the years. Whenever a large space was needed for a meeting, concert, beauty pageant, important guest speaker or the Model United Nations, Ida Waldran Auditorium was up to the task,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of Archives and Special Collections. “Ida Waldran Auditorium has been a vital part of UCA since it was built.”

In an effort to preserve the auditorium, university officials have secured grants to renovate the facility. Restoration of the auditorium began in December 2011. Renovations included a lift to allow access to the stage, new stage stairs, stage floor refinishing, refinishing of auditorium flooring, new seating, resurfacing of acoustical panels, and installation of brass railing around the orchestra pit and stage stairs.

“The renovations were badly needed. I recommend that visitors to UCA visit Ida Waldran Auditorium to see how much better it looks,” Bryant said. “The renovations will allow Ida Waldran Auditorium to serve the public better than ever.”

The university has received three grants for the project – a planning grant totaling $64,000; the second was for renovation in Ida Waldran in the amount of $300,000; and recently, and a grant for $152,000 for the first floor of Old Main, said Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and a member of the committee overseeing the renovations of Ida Waldran auditorium.

Seymour described the renovations as phenomenal.

“It has gone from dingy and forgotten to elegant and lively. We anticipate it will become a first-choice venue for campus and community events,” she said.  Learn more about the renovations of  Ida Waldran . – Spencer Griffin