Topic: College of Fine Arts
October 8, 2014
Earl Williams was most recently recognized at a Sept. 27 dinner commemorating the university's yearlong celebration of Emens' 50th anniversary season. An advocate for the arts in east central Indiana, he died Oct. 5 at age 85.
The Ball State community is saddened by the passing of Earl Williams, who for 25 years served as the first director of Emens Auditorium. An advocate for the arts in east central Indiana, he died Oct. 5 at age 85.
A Ball State graduate, Williams began his career at Emens in 1964, overseeing the auditorium's opening as the community's first major venue dedicated to the performing arts. In the years that followed, he was responsible for bringing hundreds of attractions — from Broadway shows and concert symphonies to comedians and musical artists — to the Emens stage. Upon Williams' retirement in 1989, Ball State trustees renamed the Emens lobby in his honor, citing his leadership as a major contributor to the auditorium's success during its first 25 years.
"Earl put our venue and program on the map in our industry and was highly respected by his peers in the field of performing arts presenters," said Bob Myers, Emens' current director. "I will always remember him as a wonderful storyteller with a great memory full of anecdotes about poignant and amusing experiences behind the stage."
Adds alumnus David Froenicke, who worked as Williams' assistant before taking over as Emens director upon his retirement: "Earl was known for his integrity and honesty. In that way, he was much respected by the artists and their agents."
Williams was most recently recognized at a Sept. 27 dinner commemorating the university's yearlong celebration of Emens' 50th anniversary season. In 2002, he donated to the university's archives his collection of autographed photos of past Emens performers.