Reardon Auditorium is not just a place where Anderson University students gather twice a week to fulfill chapel requirements; it is a place that brings much more to AU and to the community of Anderson. Reardon facilitates three services in one — special events, concerts, and summer camps.
One of the three services Reardon provides is event planning to both campus and non-campus clients. Reardon puts on more than 350 events each year.
“Reardon has hosted many different kinds of events, even monthly coin club meetings,” said Lisa Ragsdale, conference and performance events assistant director, who has been serving on Reardon’s staff for nearly 10 years. Events have included bridal showers, swing club dances, ballet recitals, comedy shows, and other performances.
When Reardon first started providing event planning services, it served only 32 events. Reardon’s business started growing when interested people would ask to use Reardon’s services for non-campus events. The auditorium’s services have continued to grow with each new school year. With each event Reardon puts on, key staff take care of booking, planning logistics, setting up, maintaining, and tearing down the event. Reardon also works with Creative Dining Services to provide food. Reardon has its own equipment, including tables, chairs, and pipe and drape that might be needed for special events.
The key staff at Reardon has grown as the services that Reardon provides have grown. Cheryl Shank, director of conference and performance events, joins Ragsdale, David Crump, and Jill Goodwin as the key staff at Reardon. Crump is the technical director, and Goodwin is the office manager. The key staff hires AU students to help run events.
“I have learned a lot about the professional world in my area of interest,” said student Hannah Huffman, a marketing major. Like Huffman, many AU students gain hands-on experience at Reardon. Students have the opportunity to work in a variety of roles, including client support before and during events, technical jobs such as lighting and sound, event planning, and marketing. Through these experiences, students learn first-hand how a successful business is run.
Reardon hosts at least five concerts a year, which bring in the community and exposes them to AU’s campus. “Concerts are one of the biggest ways Reardon makes money, which helps the auditorium continue providing its services to the community,” said Josh Sadlon, a music business major.
The third service Reardon offers is coordinating summer camps. AU is home to many youth and sport camps during the summer. Christ in Youth Ministries, Colts Training Camp, and AU sports teams all have summer camps at AU. Reardon’s staff plans and organizes each summer camp’s usage of the campus and provides support to event planners. Reardon’s staff starts planning for summer camps in January, assigning dorms and rooms to each camp. With each summer camp Reardon brings in, students see AU as a possible college choice.
Reardon Auditorium and the services it provides have grown in every aspect. While many colleges have auditoriums on campus, Reardon uniquely provides the AU community with entertainment and hands-on professional experience for students.
— Haley Burger is a sophomore from Stockwell, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Burger is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.