Skip Navigation

Historic Holmberg Hall Celebrates 100th Anniversary

OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage
Skip Side Navigation
Holmberg

 

NORMAN — Among the University of Oklahoma’s most recognizable communal facilities as well as one of the state’s most historic buildings, Holmberg Hall celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018.

Built in 1918 and first named The Auditorium, it was renamed Holmberg Hall in 1938 in honor of Fredrik Holmberg (1872-1936), distinguished professor of music and first dean of the College of Fine Arts. Holmberg was a steadfast advocate for fine arts education at OU and throughout the state.

“Holmberg Hall is more than just a building—it is an Oklahoma treasure and a monument to the importance of fine arts,” said OU President David L. Boren. “It also holds great personal significance to me. From debate tournaments in my student years to major announcements about my tenure at OU, Holmberg Hall has been a special venue to me throughout my life.”

In 2005, under Boren’s leadership, the building underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation funded principally by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The original building, with the addition of a new dance wing, renovated practice rooms and restoration of the performance hall, was then renamed the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center.

The iconic building known commonly as Historic Holmberg Hall has been recognized as one of the top 15 among the 50 most beautiful conservatories and Schools of Music in the nation. The hall stands prominently over Parrington Oval in an architecture style known as Cherokee Gothic, a term coined by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright when he visited the campus. The design reflects classic gothic architecture mixed with influences from the American Indian tribes of Oklahoma.

Turreted towers and medieval wooden doorways greet patrons. Crimson carpet and cream walls sweep through the lobby with statues, paintings and unique photographs that showcase the impressive history of the building. A colorful mural anchors the lobby and includes an expansive frieze depicting a number of the distinguished guests to have visited the historic hall.

Holmberg Hall has hosted some of the state’s most memorable events and well known visitors, including President William Howard Taft, piano virtuoso Van Cliburn, jazz legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, American violinist Isaac Stern, legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, interpretive storyteller Te Ata Fisher and modern dancer Martha Graham.

Additionally, several of the university’s landmark events occurred in Holmberg Hall, including OU football Coach Bud Wilkinson’s national trophy presentation as well as then-U.S. Senator David L. Boren’s acceptance speech for the OU presidency in 1994. More recently, in September 2017, Boren also selected this stage for announcing his plans to retire as president after serving the university for more than 23 years.

The building’s showpiece is Oklahoma’s only European-style performance hall. With a 677-seat capacity, the venue was restored to its original design in 2005, including the domed ceiling. Modern acoustical features were added in addition to a new stage tower, orchestra pit and renovated stage areas.

"Holmberg Hall has seen literally thousands of students launch their careers during their years at OU,” said Mary Margaret Holt, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts. “From those who have gone on to perform in Broadway musicals and national tours to countless others performing in professional theatres, dance companies and orchestras as well as graduates who have become professional designers and technicians, all have benefitted from the opportunity to work in this exceptional OU landmark. Under President Boren's leadership, the renovation to the hall in 2005 ensured that it will continue to serve the arts, our university and central Oklahoma communities, and our students with its state of the art technology, beauty and tradition."

Today, the performance hall continues to host many facets of the fine arts at OU, where student performers enhance their talents in concerts, opera, musical theatre, drama and dance productions before often going on to perform professionally throughout the nation and around the world.

 

Recent News

11/12/18

OU Cooperative Institute Celebrates 40 Years of Innovative Research

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies celebrates 40 years of innovative severe weather research on November 15 at the National Weather Center. CIMMS, which began at the former engineering laboratory building 40 years ago, is the largest research organization at OU with nearly 200 employees and $19 million in research funding. Read more

10/26/18

OU Professors to Lead Global Research on Bluegreen Algae in Freshwaters

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -University of Oklahoma professors, Karl D. Hambright and Lee R. Krumholz, will lead a global research team to study one of the most common environmental problems—freshwater toxic cyanobacteria (bluegreen algae) blooms, which threaten freshwater lakes and pose substantial health risks to humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. The group will address the fundamental interactions between cyanobacteria and other bacteria co-occurring with the blooms. Read more

10/25/18

OU Meteorologist Expects Severe Drought and Heavy Rain Events to Worsen Globally

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma meteorologist, Elinor R. Martin, expects severe drought and long-lasting rainfall events to worsen in the future. In Martin’s new study just published, she determines how frequent, intense and long lasting these types of events will be in the future. Martin looks at both severe drought and rain events, but it is the first time extended heavy rain events have been studied. Read more

10/23/18

OU Sociologist Examines Attitudes Toward LGT Individuals in New Study

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -A University of Oklahoma sociologist, Meredith G. F. Worthen, examines how measures of social contact and social distancing relate to attitudes toward lesbian, gay and transgender individuals in a new study. Worthen uses a scale she developed and data from college students in the United States (Oklahoma and Texas), Italy and Spain to offer the first cross-cultural comparisons of attitudes toward transgender people in the United States and European Union. Read more

10/09/18

OU's Radar Team Developing Fastest, Most Advanced Radar in the Nation

Pigeon Creek

NORMAN -The University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Radar Research Center team is developing the fastest, most advanced radar in the nation with a $3.4 and $3.1 million SENSR grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. HORUS, an all-digital polarimetric phased array radar, can scan the atmosphere in 30 seconds or less and distinguish between snowflakes, raindrops, hail stones or other targets within a storm. Rapid scans of the atmosphere and hydrometeor classification, among other polarimetric radar capabilities, are critical for forecasting and prediction. Read more

News Archives

2017  | 2016  | 2015  | 2014  |  2013  

2018


For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.


2018 News Archives

April


For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.