New Auburn performing arts center to be named for retiring university president and first lady

Local News

AUBURN, Ala. — The Auburn University Board of Trustees has approved naming the institution’s new performing arts center in honor of retiring president Jay Gogue and his wife, Susie.

According to a news release from the university, the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center fulfills the Gogues’ vision for a world-class performing arts center at Auburn University. Their passion for the arts inspired 1957 Auburn graduates John and Rosemary Brown to commit $25 million of their historic $57 million gift to Auburn toward creating the center, the release said.

“Rosemary and I saw the naming of the new performing arts center as an opportunity to honor Jay and Susie’s outstanding leadership and dedicated service to Auburn University,” John Brown said in the release. “We believe this facility will serve as a lasting legacy of their vision to enrich the cultural life of the university, the community and the region.”

Gogue began his tenure as Auburn University’s 18th president in 2007 and will retire June 16. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture from Auburn before earning a doctorate in that field from Michigan State University, the release said.

His service includes advancing Auburn toward becoming one of the nation’s pre-eminent public institutions of higher education through expanding research priorities, growing infrastructure and facilities, establishing industry and community partnerships and advancing the student and faculty experience on campus. But, for many, his greatest legacy will be his advocacy for a university-affiliated performing arts center bringing Auburn on par with most major universities throughout the country, the release said

“Jay and Susie believe strongly in the transformative power of the arts,” Jane DiFolco Parker, vice president for development and president of the Auburn University Foundation said in the release. “It is fitting that this new facility be named in recognition of their vision for a center that will establish the university as a culturally minded institution.”

Located across from the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art on South College Street in Auburn, the center’s proximity to the museum creates a new arts district for the university, community and region. Programming in the new center will include a wide range of high-quality artistic opportunities–from nationally touring Broadway productions to opera, dance, orchestra and symphony performances, to student and faculty music and theater performances. The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center will be completed by 2019, with programming beginning that year, the release said.

“The new performing arts center will elevate Auburn’s reputation by providing the artistic opportunities that Jay and Susie have envisioned for the university and community,” said Charles McCrary, president pro tempore of the Auburn University Board of Trustees. “This facility represents our commitment to innovative learning and cultural expression.”

The board presented Jay and Susie Gogue with a resolution honoring their service to Auburn University, as well as the resolution for the naming of the Performing Arts Center.

This marked the last board meeting for President Gogue and the first for Gov. Kay Ivey, who acknowledged him for his service to Auburn University.

Photo Abstract: Vice President for Development and President of the Auburn University Foundation Jane DiFolco Parker, right, presented Auburn University President Jay Gogue and his wife, Susie, with a resolution honoring the Gogues’ service to Auburn at the June 9 Board of Trustees meeting. In addition to the presentation of the resolution, the Board of Trustees approved naming the institution’s new performing arts center in honor of the couple. (Photo Courtesy: Auburn University)

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