The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center Opens

Posted: May 13, 2014

On Tuesday, April 29 Rosemont College held the dedication of The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center celebrating the official opening of the 350-seat theater.

Rosemont College received a $675K pledge from Jeffrey & Dianne Rotwitt for the renovation of the McShain Performing Arts Center. The auditorium was renamed "The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center." The Rotwitt gift provided the funds to support key renovations including: new seats and lighting, a new sound system and projector equipment, an updated control room and acoustic panels, and more to provide an audience with a great experience.

“My hope is that this new auditorium will not only provide a state-of-the-art resource for students, faculty and visitors, but that it will also enhance the spirit that has made Rosemont so vibrant and so special as it continues to grow in the future,” said Mrs. Rotwitt, “Jeff and I are thrilled with the results and are delighted to see how our pledge to the Campaign for Rosemont College created this amazing new theater.”

The festivities began at 7 p.m. with a warm welcome by President Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, Ph.D. ’70 and Rich Geschke, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Rosemont College. Jeffrey & Dianne Rotwitt, whose pledge and vision made this project possible, were introduced and were followed by the blessing of the newly-renovated space and ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Entertainment featuring performances from the a cappella group the Counterparts, and Rosemont’s own faculty and student group, the Petaltones, finished out the evening.

“The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center has already become an essential part of the College,” said Rosemont College President Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, Ph.D. ’70. “The Rotwitts’ gift allowed us to complete a comprehensive renewal of the McShain Performing Arts Center as opposed to doing renovations piecemeal,” Hirsh continued, “We are grateful to the Rotwitts for providing the resources that will allow The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center to offer function, beauty, and inspiration for years to come.”

A Rosemont alumna, Dianne Rotwitt also worked at Rosemont with transfer and international students. “We hope our pledge to Rosemont helps create a performance and learning space enjoyed by present and future Rosemont students, as well as the entire College community,” said Mrs. Rotwitt.

Originally constructed in 1953 and known as McShain Auditorium, the space has housed many College events including: Academic Honors Day, Convocation, Cap & Gown, and the Multicultural Show, along with many lectures, seminars, and concerts.

In 1989, after 34 years of use, the auditorium completed its first major renovation and was renamed McShain Performing Arts Center. In order to accommodate the needs of present-day activities and to increase its appeal to organizations searching for a rental venue, additional renovations were needed to upgrade the building’s mechanical and electrical systems and modernize the space.

In the past, several performance groups used McShain annually as their ‘home’ theater, and are thrilled to now host their events in The Rotwitt Theater of McShain Performing Arts Center. These renovations will definitely rejuvenate the popularity of the venue and introduce many more potential event possibilities to external organizations.

Dianne Rotwitt worked as an international student and scholar advisor at Rosemont College and the University of Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. Jeffrey Rotwitt, a practicing attorney, is also a real estate developer who includes Sun Center Studios, the Hill at Whitemarsh, and the renovation of 30th Street Station is his portfolio of projects.


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Rosemont College is a private, coeducational Catholic institution founded in 1921 by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Rosemont offers a comprehensive education through small group and experiential learning experiences while providing campus-wide academic, spiritual, and professional support. We respect and embrace diversity and individuality and promote student’s lifelong success.


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BUILT: 1953
ARCHITECT/BUILDER: Gleeson & Mulroney
HISTORY: Since 1928, all of the science labs had been located in Good Counsel Hall, along with an auditorium in the basement. By the early 1950s, neither fitted the needs of a growing college. Plans were drawn for a new building dedicated to the sciences with an attached building for an auditorium. This new building complex was completed in 1953.

MAJOR ALTERATIONS:
ARCHITECT/BUILDER: Geddes Brecker Qualls & Cunningham / Nason & Cullen, Inc.
In 1992, after 38 years of use, a major revamping of the entire complex was needed. Work was completed in December 1992 through a generous gift from The Connelly Foundation. At this time, the names were changed to the Dorothy McKenna Brown Science Building – in honor of the president of Rosemont College from 1979 to 1991. The auditorium was now the McShain Performing Arts Center.

Last Updated: May 13, 2014