University News

Lindahl Supports PAC

July 13, 2011

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MACOMB, IL -- "I enjoy the performing arts. It's really nothing more profound than that."

Those are the words of Tate Lindahl, a retired Western Illinois University administrator and Macomb resident, whose seven-figure bequest will support the much-anticipated Western Illinois University Performing Arts Center.

"I have always felt that the most important part of a performance, aside from the performers themselves, comes from the ambiance of the performance space," he added.

Lindahl's gift was announced at the April 26 ceremonial groundbreaking on WIU's Macomb campus. For many years, legislators, local organizations and campus and community leaders have worked together to make the center a reality. The project has been a University priority for many years and, when completed, will be a cultural center for the people of western Illinois.

Lindahl came to Western in 1967 as part of a team charged with design and implementation of computer use for administrative purposes, as well as for research and instruction. Previously, he had taught statistics at Kansas State University, been a systems engineer for IBM, chaired the math department at Black Hawk College (BHC) and established BHC's data processing curriculum. During his 23 years in academic computing at WIU, Lindahl authored three textbooks and co-authored a fourth on computer programming, and was instrumental in the evolution of computer use by faculty and students.

A longtime supporter of the arts at Western, Lindahl began his tradition of generosity by giving artwork to the University in the early 1980s. Five Rembrandt prints, considered the most valuable items in the WIU Art Gallery's permanent collection, were gifts from Lindahl.

"When I purchased the pieces for the gallery, my goal was to bring some historically significant pieces to WIU for use by students, faculty and the community," Lindahl said. He has also contributed works by Georges Rouault, Gatja Rothe, and Francisco Goya.

Lindahl remembers that "around that time, there was a major fundraising campaign going on, so I made a commitment for the arts, possibly a future Performing Arts Center." Working with then-Vice President for Public Affairs and Development Ralph Wagoner, Lindahl decided that he would like his planned gift to be used for the Performing Arts Center, when, and if, it became a reality.

Nearly 30 years later, the campus and community are celebrating the vision of a Performing Arts Center finally becoming a reality. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2012 and take approximately 30 months to complete. The new facility will include a 1,400-seat proscenium theatre auditorium with two balconies, a 250-seat thrust stage and a 150-seat studio theatre. There will also be dance, jazz, and theatre rehearsal studios; dressing rooms adjacent to the theatres; a scenery/design workshop and costume shop; administrative offices; and a loading dock to accommodate semis and buses for professional touring companies and orchestras.

"I acknowledge the importance of scholarships, but I wanted to do something a little different," Lindahl explained. "This project is long overdue and I want to lend my support."

His bequest will provide support for the Performing Arts Center's operation. Financial support from the Illinois Capital Development Board of the $67.8 million facility will fund the conceptualization, design and building of the center, while Lindahl has ensured that it will be maintained, enhanced, preserved and staffed.

"The Performing Arts Center is a result of decades-long collaboration, and Tate is an essential partner is the success of the project," said Vice President for Advancement and Public Services Brad Bainter. "His gift secures this academic facility and cultural landmark today and into the future. I applaud his vision and his sincere generosity."

Posted By: Julie Murphy, WIU Foundation (
Office of University Relations