The main theater of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts was dedicated The Eloise Covert Smith Theater Nov. 13.
The main theater of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts was dedicated The Eloise Covert Smith Theater during a special reception Wednesday, Nov. 13 preceding the SOPAA performance of “Mamma Mia!”
Eloise Covert Smith, was a graduate of Portsmouth High School and dedicated much of her life to education. She taught elementary school in New Boston and Wheelersburg. After retirement, she remained an advocate of higher education and was a supporter of Shawnee State University, making a significant estate gift in 1995 to the SSU Development Foundation’s Reach for the Stars campaign.
“Eloise, a teacher, and her husband, Sam Kenyon, an engineer and contractor, owned lands from the ridge to the river and from the gas lines to the Wheelersburg exit,” Tom Covert, nephew of the late Eloise Covert Smith, said during the dedication. “It was from this background and from these lands in which this gift is rooted. I know Eloise and Sam are pleased to see that a portion of their fruits remained here for education.”
The Eloise Covert Smith Theater was built in 1995. Designed by world renowned designer, George Izenour, the theater has provided students and community members access to the performing arts, with more than 100 events featured here each year including Broadway performances, international ballets, orchestra, and theatre performances, concerts, shows, and presentations.
The Vern Riffe Center for the Arts has allowed Shawnee State University to grow its academic programs in the arts, with art studios, classrooms, and the Appleton Gallery where student and faculty art is showcased. These facilities and programs were made possible in part by the SSU Development Foundation.