During its final Board of Trustees meeting of 2020, Ball State University announced an additional $2.8 million gift from Charles W. Brown that will fund an outdoor performance and gathering space named the Brown Family Amphitheater.
The Board approved a resolution to name the grand lawn amphitheater in honor of Brown, a 1971 graduate of Ball State and a longtime donor to the University.
"The beauty of our campus is one of the many reasons students choose Ball State University,” President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “The Brown Family Amphitheater will strengthen that appeal. It will also deepen our commitment to inspiring students by providing a variety of performances as well as a gathering space for outdoor activities, which will encourage innovation.”
The construction of the Brown Family Amphitheater will be the next step in an ongoing transformation of Ball State’s campus. It will be located between Park and Pruis Halls and between Noyer and Woodworth Complexes. It will add to an already vibrant environment while enhancing the sense of place in an area of campus that contains several of the University’s housing facilities.
“The Brown Family Amphitheater will be a wonderful addition to the heart of our campus,” said Board Chair Renae Conley. “We deeply appreciate Charlie’s continued support of our institution, and we look forward to the many experiences this facility will provide our students, faculty and staff, and the community.”
After graduating from Ball State, Charles W. Brown received several awards from the University’s Miller College of Business, which recognized Brown with a Hall of Fame Award in 2016. Brown has served on the Cardinal Varsity Club, Miller College of Business Executive Advisory Board, and the Indianapolis CEO Group.
Brown’s $2.8 million gift comes after an initial $250,000 gift to design the amphitheater. A longtime donor to Ball State, Brown generously supported the University and our students with the Charlie Brown BOLD Celebration Scholarship. Brown was also the lead donor for the Charles W. Brown Planetarium—the largest planetarium in Indiana—which opened in 2014.
As the planetarium has enhanced offerings for both the Ball State campus and the community at large, Brown supported the amphitheater with similar intent. Most of Brown’s support for Ball State has focused on enhancing campus opportunities that include the local community.
The Brown Family Amphitheater will offer Ball State and Muncie an outdoor venue that will bring people together for theatre and music while providing a flexible space for activities outdoors.
“All of us in the College of Fine Arts are excited,” said Dean Seth Beckman. “In collaboration with our many campus and community partners, the Brown Family Amphitheater will enable our art, music, theatre, and dance programs to come together as never before. This new space will spark creativity and inspire partnerships for generations to come.”
Once complete, the Brown Family Amphitheater will offer artists and audiences an impressive performance facility. In addition to a stage, the facility will feature dressing rooms, a green room, storage space, a control room, and a loading dock. More specifically, the facility will feature a booth/mix station with a lightboard, soundboard, and more with a line of sight to the stage. There will also be elevated spotlights, distributed power throughout the venue, motors and truss lighting over the stage, and more.