University of Dubuque to Dedicate Heritage Center

Oct 2, 2013 | Kristi Lynch

On Sunday morning, October 13, the University of Dubuque will officially dedicate the new Heritage Center.  The Festival Worship Service and Dedication of Heritage Center will begin at 11:00 a.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall of Heritage Center.

The worship service, which officially closes the University’s Homecoming weekend celebrations, will feature a special choir comprised of the UD Concert Choir and choir alumni.  The sermon will be delivered by our longest serving professor, Rev. Dr. C. Howard Wallace, professor of biblical theology emeritus of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.  Congregations from our region have also been invited to participate in the service – some of whom are congregations that were organized by our founder, Adrian VanVliet.  Doors open at 10:30 a.m., and there will be a light lunch, fellowship, and tours of the building following the service.

Ground was broken on the $31 million facility on May 6, 2011.  Joe Chlapaty (C’68), chair of the Board of Trustees, and his wife, Linda, made a generous, multi-million dollar commitment to help the University further its Mission and Vision of developing well-rounded, informed, and culturally-literate students.  Lead donors to this project are John and Alice Butler, Ed and Shirley Babka, and others who wish to remain anonymous.

“We made the decision to dedicate Heritage Center in the context of a worship service because the completion of this building is, for us, more than a celebration of a stunningly beautiful piece of architecture,” stated University President Jeffrey F. Bullock.  “For us it is the occasion to stop, as a community, to give thanks for how richly blessed the University has been throughout its history, particularly during the last fifteen years.  Heritage Center stands as a witness to our past and a beacon for our future – a future in which we seek to be of service to the church and to the world.”

Heritage Center, completed in April 2013, provides a place where the entire University family can gather to recreate, study, learn, worship, participate in co-curricular activities, and share a meal – the center of community life.  With Art by Osmosis as the overarching theme of the Center, people of all walks are invited to happen upon Art in its myriad forms, intentionally and accidentally, as they visit the new center for their work, study, recreation, and entertainment. 

At approximately 80,000 square feet, the building will be a virtuoso performer in the UD campus’ architectural ‘ensemble.’ The exterior’s flowing organic forms define each façade with a visual expression of music.  These horizontal and vertical forms continue to the interior, with serpentine pathways, free-form finish elements and curvilinear gathering and work places.  The building is designed to exude artistic expression in and of itself, from afar and from within.

The primary functions of the building can be categorized as a casual student campus center and formal public areas, with overlaps of each meant to encourage interaction and interest.  The student areas are designed to provide educational spaces, group and individual study settings, student services, offices, and hospitality; the public areas provide performance venues – including the 1000-seat John and Alice Butler Hall, the Babka Black Box Theatre, and the Straatmeyer Instrumental Rehearsal Room – associated gathering spaces, gallery space, heritage display – a venue for archival and heritage articles and artifacts from the University of Dubuque’s long and storied history – offices, and hospitality.

In a very visible way, the name of this new construction Heritage Center joins us to our founder, Adrian VanVliet; the generations who followed to the present era, and on into those who will carry this Mission into a future where we believe “the best is yet to be.”

The dedication ceremony is free and open to the public.