Choctaw gift assists in improvements to Montgomery Auditorium

Southeastern president Larry Minks, left, accepts a gift from Chief Gregory Pyle of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as Southeastern vice president of business affairs Ross Walkup looks on.

DURANT, Okla. – The future looks bright for Montgomery Auditorium on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and University funding, the facility will see $386,000 of improvements that will include the installation of new lighting and theatrical rigging systems.

The auditorium, located inside historic Morrison Hall, plays host to a number of events — both University and community-related. Over the years, the venue has hosted politicians, principals, and Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as grand choirs and Grammy winners. Its theatrical productions have included musicals from Oliver to Oklahoma, and playwrights from Dr. Seuss to William Shakespeare.

The auditorium was named for T.T. Montgomery, the 12th president of Southeastern, during a ceremony in June 1953.

The Choctaw Nation is contributing $257,000 toward the improvements, with the University funding the remainder.

“We are very appreciative of this gift from The Choctaw Nation”, said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “It is a gift not only to the University, but to the community as a whole. This area is very fortunate to have leaders such as Chief Pyle – leaders who never waver in making the commitment to give back to their communities. As a University, we have worked with the Nation on a number of what we call ‘win-win projects,’ and we look forward to continuing that partnership.”

“The auditorium’s major systems have, with so much use, become in need of replacement and repair,” said Dell McLain, Chair of the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre. “This enhancement project includes replacing the incandescent theatrical lighting system with a state-of-the-art, all-digital, Intelligent LED lighting system. Once fully operational, the system will be able to support multiple events with greater safety, at a fraction of the energy consumption, heat generation, and cost.”