Angelo State University has received a $2.3 million gift from prominent local philanthropist and arts enthusiast Elta Joyce McAfee to help fund the restoration and renovation of ASU’s University Auditorium, which will be re-named the Elta Joyce Murphey Auditorium in her honor.
Located inside ASU’s Mayer Administration Building, the 8,205-square-foot auditorium will undergo extensive improvements, including renovations to the lobby, stage and back-of-house theatre; installation of a theatre and audio-visual support room; expansion of the restrooms; and updates to the auditorium entrance.
“Supporting Angelo State has always been very important to me,” McAfee said. “To have the opportunity to make an impact not just on campus and the students, but on a facility that hosts many of the wonderful Arts at ASU events, is meaningful in so many ways. I have always loved the arts, and I’m just so pleased that I can support this project that will mean so much to the students and the audiences who come watch them perform.”
A long-time supporter of the arts in West Texas, McAfee was a founding member of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and led fundraising efforts to support the former San Angelo Civic Ballet’s first performance of “The Nutcracker” in 1983. She has also been involved with the San Angelo Symphony board for more than 50 years and has supported many other organizations, including the Angelo Civic Theater, San Angelo Junior League, House of Faith and Baptist Memorial Hospital.
In 2016, McAfee was named the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year for her numerous contributions to the community. The San Angelo City Auditorium was re-named the Elta Joyce Murphey Performance Hall and Stage in her honor after she helped fund significant renovations.
Like the former City Auditorium, ASU’s auditorium is being commemorated under McAfee’s maiden name of Murphey to honor her contribution and her family.
“Mrs. McAfee’s love of the arts and generosity of spirit are well known in San Angelo and on the ASU campus,” said ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “But, we are still blown away by her latest act of kindness because of the many ways it will benefit the ASU Ram Family and the community as a whole. Thanks to her, ASU will once again have a beautiful and modern venue to host concerts, theatre productions, distinguished lectures and many other types of events for the campus and the public, and we are proud that it will carry the Elta Joyce Murphey name.”
McAfee’s contribution to the auditorium renovations is also just the latest example of her longstanding support of ASU. She has been a member of the ASU President’s Circle since 1980, supports ASU athletics at the annual Phil George Blue & Gold Dinner and Auction, and has contributed to the ASU Friends of Art and Music Entertainment (FAME) Scholarship Endowment. She also supports the ASU Friends of the Library and the ASU Office of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health.
Renovations to ASU’s newly-named Elta Joyce Murphey Auditorium are tentatively scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023 and take about a year to complete.