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UWFox Announces New Campus Venue Named for Jim Perry

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At a news conference held jointly by The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Foundation, Inc., on August 5, in the Thrivent Financial Lobby of the campus’ new Communication Arts Center (CAC), members and friends of the Foundation’s Board of Directors announced that the main hall of the CAC would be named in honor of Jim Perry, UWFox campus executive officer and dean. The “James W. Perry Hall” is the largest venue within the campus’ newest building addition.

Lisa Weiner, executive director of the Foundation, was joined by lead CAC donors Steve Seifert, Kathi Seifert, and Lynn and Roger Van Vreede in making today’s announcement.  David Wilson, chancellor of the UW Colleges and UW-Extension, joined members of UWFox’s faculty, staff, friends of the campus and media representatives in celebrating the occasion.

In making the official announcement, Steve Seifert, UWFox alumnus, Foundation board member and co-chair, with Tod Galloway, of the Foundation’s CAC Steering Committee said, “Through the support of Winnebago and Outagamie Counties, the state of Wisconsin, and the Foundation, the financial support to move ahead with the design and construction of the CAC became a reality just a few years ago. 

“As part of its support for the CAC, the Foundation pledged to raise $2 million toward the $14 million cost of the CAC.  Our Steering Committee sought out donors and offered naming rights for numerous facilities within this new building. Many of the interior facilities have now been named by various donors.  Until now, though, the main hall of the CAC has not been claimed.

“Several of us, including me, Kathi, Lynn and Roger Van Vreede decided to do something about that.  As lead donors for the CAC, the four of us decided to forego our opportunity to name individual spaces within the CAC.  Instead, we have decided to combine our gifts and name the main hall within the CAC, the ‘James W. Perry Hall.’ We did this because we wanted to recognize Jim for his unwavering commitment and dedication to the project of getting the CAC built.”

The CAC is expected to be the first academic building within the UW System that will earn a LEED certification when it opens for fall semester 2009. The 51,000-square-foot CAC was designed and built within the guidelines of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Site design and utilization, heat-recovery units, leading-edge air-handling and rigorous energy management systems, efficient motors and lighting systems, and water conservation systems are among the many design features included in the CAC so that the new building is energy wise and resource conservative.

Kathi Seifert offered her perspective on extending the honor to Perry. She said, “Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have been able to collaborate with Jim Perry on numerous campus projects, including the very first Lego League competition that was staged here at the campus nearly 10 years ago, and more prominently, the UWFox-UW-Platteville engineering collaboration that we helped establish here at UWFox.  That program has exceeded our most optimistic expectations.

“When Steve and I first discussed the idea of collaborating with Roger and Lynn to combine our CAC gifts in order to name the main hall in Jim’s honor, I thought it was a marvelous idea.  Jim’s passion and vision has brought numerous creative programs to the Fox Cities. His commitment is legendary in finding ways to make UWFox a recognized state-wide leader in higher education opportunities for students of all ages. 

“The campus’ new Communication Arts Center will be recognized as one of the crown jewels of the Fox Cities once the public and the media have a chance to see it and experience its offerings. By naming the CAC’s most prominent facility the ‘James W. Perry Hall,’ we’ve recognized the person who’s been most responsible for making it all a reality.”

The $14-million building was funded through the support of Outagamie and Winnebago counties (each contributing $5.3 million), and the UW-Fox Valley Foundation, Inc., which has raised $1,944,010 of the $2 million it has pledged to contribute. The state of Wisconsin is slated to provide nearly $1.345 million for moveable equipment for the facility.

Roger Van Vreede is also a UWFox alumnus. He said, “Since I started as a student here in 1962 and went on to earn my Associate Degree in 1964, I’ve seen enormous changes come to this campus. And there has been no bigger change agent here at the campus than my friend, Jim Perry. 

“Jim became Campus Executive Officer and Dean at UWFox in 1993. His passion and commitment to making this campus THE place to attend college in the Fox Cities has been unwavering.  I suppose I could say he’s been tenacious.  He lives and breathes UWFox. When he’s not working here on campus, he spends his time away thinking of ways to make the campus a better place for students to start or continue their higher education.

“The CAC, with its many innovative features and facilities, will serve generations of students yet to come. I also believe that this beautiful facility will become an educational and cultural landmark in northeastern Wisconsin, as it’s one of the finest educational venues in the entire state.

“Steve, Kathi, Lynn and I are long time residents of the Fox Cities. Our roots are here. Our careers and businesses were built here.  We know how important UWFox is to this community. As lead donors for the CAC, the four of us are very proud to see that our financial commitment will be used to honor Jim, who’s done more than anyone else to bring this beautiful facility to UWFox, the Fox Cities, as well as to Outagamie and Winnebago Counties.”

In accepting the honor, Perry said, “The decision on the part of the Seiferts and Van Vreedes came as a complete and utter surprise to me. It never dawned on me that I should warrant this incredible honor, and I accept it with the utmost humility. I’m grateful that they and our county officials seem to think this is fitting. In all candor, I’ve never desired any special recognition. I’ve always thought that working as hard as I know how to meet the needs of the students and the campus was just part of doing the job well, not exceptionally. It’s impossible for me to find words that are truly adequate on this occasion. I will simply say ‘thank you’ to all that have made today possible. No one person alone can accomplish anything like this, it takes a major team effort, and for 16 years I have been blessed to be part of an unparalleled team at Fox.”

The CAC offers the 362-seat academic-grade “James W. Perry Hall,” the multi-function main floor Thrivent Financial Lobby, coat check, Miron Café, ticket office, rest rooms, elevator to the Community First Credit Union Second Floor Lobby, the black-box Lucia Baehman Theatre, the 2,000-square-foot Aylward Gallery, and an area suitable for outdoor activities. In accordance with LEED guidelines, the CAC is designed for rooftop gardens that will help manage storm water, while its plants will add to local air quality.

The “James W. Perry Hall” features 226 first-floor seats fixed in place and 18 moveable seats. Its second floor provides 116 seats fixed in place and two moveable seats. It will be used for theatrical and music performances, lectures, public hearings, debates, and special presentations. 

The stage in the “James W. Perry Hall” is comprised of nearly 4,000 sq. ft., with a proscenium opening of 42 ft. wide x 24’ high. The new stage provides proper fly space to store and hide from sight of the audience scenery and lighting equipment above the performance area. The orchestra pit provides a suitable location for musicians to be positioned to accompany performances.  ADA accommodations have also been designed into the newly named venue.

For more information about the “James W. Perry Hall,” the new CAC, or UWFox, please contact Dave Hager, director of University Relations at UWFox, 920-832-2611 or email david.hager@uwc.edu.

Posted 08/05/2009