Recital Hall

History of Simpkins Hall


Western Illinois State Teachers College was awarded a Work Projects Administration (WPA) grant along with a Illinois legislature appropriation to build the Lab or Training School which is now known as Simpkins Hall.


Construction begins January 11, 1937. The cornerstone was laid on July 13, 1937 at a ceremony attended by then Governor of Illinois Henry Horner and College President Walter P. Morgan. Simpkins Hall, 1937 - Henry Horner Speaking.


September 14, 1938 -- the Lab or Training School first occupied even though the building was unfinished.


The Training School was dedicated in May 26, 1939 at a ceremony attended by hundreds of alumni, friends and community members.


Building operated as a Training School. All disciplines were taught to students in the building by student teachers and faculty. The gymnasium, the site of the future Recital Hall, was used as recital and concert facility by music faculty and students during this period.


Training School is moved to newly built Horrabin Hall. The Department of English anSimpkins Hall gym under Training School Used Journalism and the ROTC program located in the building. The building is renamed in honor of the former head of the Department of Education Rupert R. Simpkins. The gymnasium is used for ROTC training as well as movement classes for theatre.


At the height of the campus protests of the Vietnam War following the killings of four students at Kent State University, a group of WIU students and faculty occupied the Simpkins Hall gymnasium before the referendum regarding the removal of the ROTC program at WIU. Following a vote that was two to one in favor that ROTC remain on campus, many of the protesters left the gymnasium. Through negotiation between student leaders and the administration, the protest ended peacefully.


Illinois General Assembly Appropriation to retrofit the Simpkins Hall gymnasium to build a Recital Hall for the Department of Music.Architect's Line Drawing of Retrofit.


The ROTC program is moved to Horrabin Hall to make way for pre-construction work in the gymnasium.


Construction Begins.

February 2002

Department of Music begins to use Recital Hall.

September 2002

Dedication Concert Celebration in historic Simpkins Hall.