The renovation made possible by Mrs. Kierstead-Farber's gift included new drywall on the back wall of the hall, removing the carpet on the wall, and improving acoustics; all new paint; new carpet; brand new seating; and six large banners placed in the hall showing past programs from concerts presented during the rich history of the DePauw School of Music, the sixth-oldest in the United States, founded in 1884.
"This was the first time that Thompson Recital Hall has undergone serious upgrades since it opened in 1976," according to Mark McCoy, dean of the DePauw School of Music. "It is a wonderful space but was acoustically-challenged and not a room that was inviting to audiences. It's a very well-used venue and important to our student-musicians, as well as visiting artists, and we will be forever grateful to Vera May for her generosity and lifelong support for DePauw."
Kierstead-Farber, whose birthday is in March, was presented with a belated birthday cake at an event to celebrate the renovation of Thompson Recital Hall. She was joined by her husband, Bob Farber, vice president emeritus and professor emeritus of education at DePauw and 1935 graduate of the University, as well as family and friends, DePauw President Brian Casey, and School of Music students, faculty and staff.
The work in Thompson Hall is not completed. Still to come are improvements to its lighting, window coverings and signage. A plaque will be placed in the venue to recognize Vera May Kierstead-Farber's gift.