Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it has awarded a $250,000 grant to Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina.
The funds will support the university’s restoration of historic Chappelle Auditorium on its campus.
The auditorium was built in 1925 and has been frequently used to serve the public throughout its history. In the past, it was a location for African-Americans to assemble freely. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes, Mary McCloud Bethune, Muhammad Ali, Brooks Benton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have been among the presenters and performers in the auditorium.
“Today the long histories of Allen University and Boeing intersect, deepening our roots in South Carolina,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said. “We recognize the importance of Allen University to the history of all South Carolinians and we are proud to be associated with Chappelle Auditorium, which has always been a special place for assembly, the arts, and positive engagement, and has made this state and this country a better place for all.”
The U.S. Department of the Interior recognized the historic significance of the building and included it the National Register of Historic Places in South Carolina. It is considered a National Historic Landmark because of its historic role and unique architectural design.
“Allen University is thrilled to begin this partnership with Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company,” Allen University interim President Lady June Cole said. “The potential for building upon this foundation and establishing a reciprocal relationship which benefits our students and our campus is unlimited. It is incumbent upon us to continue to be innovative and creative in our collaborative efforts which support the growth of Allen University. We are thankful for this generous contribution towards the renovation of Chappelle Auditorium.”
Chappelle Auditorium renovation efforts started in 2014. Restoration is expected to be completed at the end of 2015.
“Allen University and Chappelle Hall hold a unique place in the history of this great state,” Boeing South Carolina Vice President and General Manager Beverly Wyse said. “We at Boeing are proud to support this restoration so that future generations can also experience this important cultural landmark.”