Ann Essman and Bernice Deime enjoy talking with other Ohio University Lancaster Alumni and Friends on July 25.

Photographer: Cheri Russo


The Mark Flugge Band from Columbus played swing and jazz music for the event.

Photographer: Cheri Russo


Ohio University Lancaster alumi and friends gather near the Herrold Hall patio to enjoy music and the arts.

Photographer: Cheri Russo

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Lancaster Campus celebrates the arts on campus with alumni and friends

Event included special screening of a scene from "Chicago: The Musical"

Alumni and friends of the Ohio University Lancaster Campus came together Wednesday night to celebrate a regional campus homecoming of sorts, while taking in theater, arts and culture.

The event occurred before the Rolling Stone tribute band Satisfaction took to the Wendel Concert stage on the campus lawn as part of the Lancaster Festival.

Ohio University Lancaster Campus enjoys a rich history in the arts. The Lancaster Festival is an annual concert hosted by the campus and open to the public. It grew from the vision of Raymond Wilkes, former dean of the Lancaster Campus, to hold concerts on the campus. Many Ohio University graduates come to the area and the campus for the festival each year.

“It’s a chance for folks to come back and participate in the festival. We have alumni and friends of Ohio University Lancaster here,” said Dean Jim Smith. “It’s nice to hear your stories of your time on the Lancaster Campus.”

Smith made those remarks right before the alumni and friends event began in Brasee Hall’s Wagner Theatre. Those in attendance saw a special screening of a scene from the Ohio University Lancaster Theatre’s production of "Chicago: The Musical." Then, they moved to the Herrold Hall patio where the Mark Flugge Band played swing and jazz music.

The Lancaster Campus continues to support arts and culture. The theater program is thriving today and the Raymond Wilkes Art Gallery for the Visual Arts offers three exhibitions each year.

Growing arts and culture on campus is part of a $3.5 million fundraising campaign at Ohio University Lancaster. In June, the Lancaster Campus kicked off The Promise Lives Campaign. Part of the campaign funds are dedicated to improving the Wagner Theatre. The stage, sound, lighting systems and theatre were designed in the 1960s and need updated. With improved facilities, the theatre will be equipped to host more visiting artists and performers and serve as a venue for lectures by nationally known speakers. Such events will serve to enrich and educate students and community members alike.

The Campaign is also raising funds to establish an endowment for cultural enrichment. The endowment for the fine arts, performing arts, and a speaker series will make a major difference in the cultural and intellectual impact of the campus on the community. With an upgraded art gallery, the Lancaster Campus will be able to increase school collaborations, student art shows, co-sponsored events with Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts, museum partnerships and touring exhibitions.

The Lancaster Campus has already raised nearly $1.8 million toward its goal. To learn more about The Promise Lives Campaign or to make a donation, visit or contact Mandi Custer at or 740-654-6711 ext. 234.