Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

IMPACT of Giving at Southwestern

Friends of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts

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To ensure we continue providing the broadest experiences for learning and teaching the fine arts.

The Sarofim School of Fine Arts Today


On March 7, 2008, after a two-and-a-half year renovation and expansion, Southwestern celebrated the re-opening of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts in the Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center. This magnificent teaching and performance facility now includes:

  • Alma Thomas Theater: orchestra pit and state-of-the-art lighting and sound system
  • Walzel Lobby for gathering and for art display
  • Doug and Sue Smith Theatre Design Classroom
  • Music practice rooms
  • Instrumental rehearsal hall to support large class work for the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Jazz Band
  • W.D. Kelley Foundation Music Library
  • Heather McGaughey Rehearsal Hall
  • Jane Nelms Lansford Music Studios
  • Orchestra shell for excellent concert hall acoustics
  • Secured and protected storage for musical instruments
  • More comfortable, efficient and fully accessible building


While the renovation of the building was funded by the generosity of Fayez Sarofim of Houston and other donors, there remain ongoing expenses that require annual support. The new operating systems are extensive and complicated, and require regular maintenance, repair and updates. As marvelous as the renovated facilities are, a well-rounded arts education requires that students go off campus from time to time for other theatre, gallery or musical performances. Students would benefit from a wider variety of guests ar tists for master classes, workshops, performances, lectures and exhibits. Musical instruments and tools in the scene shop wear out and must be replaced, the printmaking studio supplies have to be replenished, and the Chorale and Orchestra need new sheet music to update and expand their reper toires. The quality of programs within the newly renovated center depends on consistent reliable funding.