May 5, 2008
The center of Morningside College’s campus will bustle with activity this summer as Sioux City area residents enjoy music and theater events in a new outdoor performance center, stroll by a two-tier fountain and admire the views from an elegant pergola.
All of this is part of the new Hilker Campus Mall just completed in the heart of Morningside’s campus. The college will dedicate the mall on Thursday, May 8, with an invitation-only reception, dinner and concert performance.
A gift from Dr. Robert R. J. Hilker, a 1938 Morningside graduate, and his wife Mary, both of Vero Beach, Fla., made construction of the Hilker Campus Mall possible. Dr. Hilker, who was raised and received his early education in Paullina, Iowa, served as a member of the Morningside College Board of Directors from 1971 to 1980.
“The Hilker Campus Mall is the latest in a series of significant upgrades and additions to our campus that were made possible by tremendous support from our board of directors, alumni, friends, faculty and staff,” said Morningside President John Reynders. “We have a beautiful, student-friendly campus that provides an environment conducive to living and learning.”
The new pedestrian mall and green space starts at the back of Lewis Hall, extends south past the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center and terminates at a parking lot off of Garretson Avenue near Eppley Auditorium. Work started in 2007 on the $4.2 million mall project, which includes three new outdoor gathering spaces: the Buhler Outdoor Performance Center, the Lieder Family Fountain and the Kline Family Pergola.
Anchoring the south end of the mall is the Buhler Outdoor Performance Center. Lucy Buhler of Edmonds, Wash., a 1956 Morningside music education graduate and a member of the college’s board of directors, helped fund construction of the open air, amphitheater-style performance center through a gift from the Walter A. Buhler Educational Trust. The outdoor performance center serves as home for the Betty Ling Tsang Summer Fine Arts Series. The series is named for the late Betty Ling Tsang, who graduated from Morningside in 1940 with a music degree. The premiere season of the series begins in June with four music and theater productions scheduled during the summer. All performances are free to the public.
The Kline Family Pergola and the Lieder Family Fountain also enhance the Hilker Campus Mall and provide additional campus locations for outdoor classes and study and for small group gatherings. Frances Kline of Naples, Fla., a 1995 Morningside graduate and former member of the college’s board of directors, and her late husband Marvin donated funding for construction of the pergola. The Rev. Lyle and Betty Lieder of Rochester, Minn., made the naming gift for the Lieder Family Fountain. Rev. Lieder served as a vice president at Morningside College and as pastor of several Methodist churches during his 41-year career. All five of the Lieder’s children are Morningside graduates. Their daughter Deborah Kiesey, a 1973 Morningside graduate, is a member of the college’s board of directors.