History of T. Furth Center for Performing Arts
While Trine University has a reputation of being a respected engineering school, many don′t realize that it also has an artistic tradition. When the university was founded as Tri–State Normal College in 1884, students could major in piano, vocal culture, organ and theory. Then–college president Littleton Sniff built the $2,000 music hall at his own expense. It proudly stood near the northwest corner of Darling Street and Park Avenue.
By 1924, the university changed its name to Tri–State College and dropped music classes, but kept band and choir on as extracurricular activities for students. As time gave way to the Second World War, the school put more emphasis on technical classes.
Four years ago, Trine began a quest to return to its roots by offering music classes. Now, all students have the option of completing a minor in music. This year, the program has grown to include four bands, an orchestra and two choirs with more than 160 students participating.
Mark Kays, Trine′s band director, explained that more than 75 percent of students in the school′s two jazz bands are engineering students.
"The mind of an engineer lends itself to being a musician," Kays said. "If you have a student who is looking to go to an engineering school, Trine is a good option because it allows students with a love for music to pursue it as an extracurricular activity."