A Space for Public Programming
The Marion E. Wade Center building, dedicated in 2001, created entirely new educational and outreach possibilities for the Wade including museum space to display artifacts from the collection, a classroom, and a seminar room – these public event spaces when combined with the spacious Kilby Reading Room all contribute to a well-designed setting that delights researchers and visitors alike. This beautiful building was the generous gift of Mary Wade, daughter of Marion Wade, and an anonymous donor. Over time, it became apparent that the Wade Center's spaces for public programming were not large enough to accommodate the numbers of people attending Wade events. A solution was needed.
The Bakke Auditorium, our addition to the Marion E. Wade Center, began construction in early December 2014 and was dedicated on October 29, 2015. It is named for lead donors Stanley and Jeannette Bakke, Wheaton Class of 1961.The Bakkes have had a longtime and close connection to the Wade Center dating back to their student days and friendship with our founder Clyde S. Kilby. In addition, Stan has served on the Wade Center Board since 2006.
Designed by our original building architect Terry Oppermann to reflect key elements of our main building, the beautiful wood trim and lofty ceiling of the Bakke Auditorium are clearly reminiscent of the Kilby Reading Room. As a result, the Auditorium’s warm ambience creates a splendid setting for a wide variety of events including lectures, book discussions, and seminars as well as dramatic and musical presentations. Significantly, this lovely and adaptable space offers the Wade Center more versatility due to its flexible seating and increased capacity of 144 seats.
In brief, the Bakke Auditorium is not only a wonderfully functional space, but in keeping with the rest of our building, it is a truly beautiful space that blends seamlessly with the existing Wade Center. We are grateful for this addition which enables the Wade Center to explore new and creative ways to engage our visitors ever more winsomely with the words of our authors.
The Bakke Auditorium was dedicated on October 29, 2015 as part of our 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Marion E. Wade Center.