50 Years of the Browning Center

It was a dream come true. The grand opening of Weber State’s sprawling $1.8 million Fine Arts Center on Dec. 13, 1964, symbolized the school’s cultural coming of age and the promise of a bold future. Students and faculty finally had a place large enough to accommodate ambitious productions and learning activities. Residents of neighboring communities gained a venue to experience the finest culture the world had to offer.

It’s only fitting that 50 years later, on Jan. 9, 2015, the fine arts building, now known as the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, hosted an anniversary bash unlike any other.

An eclectic mix of performers — including Ogden’s legendary jazz saxophonist Joe McQueen; NFL tackle-turned-opera singer Ta’u Pupu’a, a WSU alumnus; and the (Sara) Pickett Dance Ensemble — dazzled the sold-out crowd.  WSU theatre graduate and X-96 radio morning show co-host Bill Allred emceed the affair, which also kicked 
off the Browning Center’s Buy-A-Seat campaign.

After a half-century of steady use, seats in the Austad Auditorium and Allred Theater are well past retirement age. With the help of generous donors, and an appropriation from the Utah Legislature, wider, more comfortable theater chairs have been installed, a new seating arrangement has been implemented to improve acoustics and accessibility, and the hearing-assistive technology has been upgraded. 

For details about the Buy-A-Seat campaign, contact the Development Office.