The Stories Behind the Seats

If the seats in the University Center for the Arts could talk, they would share thousands of stories about exciting performances, students discovering who they are, and the emotions felt during a stirring performance. And now with the Name a Seat Campaign, UCA seats now have more stories to tell.

Since its launch last fall, the Name a Seat campaign has generated more than $35,000 in scholarship funding for students in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, and enabled CSU alumni, patrons, and friends to add their name to CSU history. With a gift of $250 to a music, theatre, or dance scholarship, donors can put their name on a plaque on a seat in the theatre of their choice.

As you walk through the seats in all four UCA theatres, you’ll see names and icons that symbolize personal stories about the power of the arts and love for CSU.

Here are a few of those stories.

(Left) Amy Mills during senior Rock Band Concert and (Right) the cast of Twelfth Night where Amy Mills served as stage manager.

Magic of the UCA - Amy Barkley Mills

I was a theatre major with a concentration in stage management and I spent a lot of time in the UCA. I gained unique experience managing productions for all the areas – music, theatre, and dance. The community that was built in the UCA was tight knit and collaborative. You’d be practicing alongside dance and music majors and there was a sense of comradery between all of us. It made for an inspiring and exciting energy in the building.

When I was applying for my current job as the Conditioning Coordinator and Administrative Assistant for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, it was my diverse experience that helped me get the job. I had worked as a stage manager for a CSU dance production and learned about the unique needs of the dancers, which I could easily apply to my current role.

While I was most often behind the scenes on UCA productions, I did perform on-stage with the University Chorus. My freshman year, a friend of mine dragged me to a chorus rehearsal. I hadn’t signed up for the class, but she thought I would love it after trying it. She was right. Chorus was also the place I met my future husband!

Amy Mills at commencement

I am so grateful for the theatre scholarships that I received while at CSU. They enabled me to achieve my dream of earning a theatre degree. I think that there is always going to be a need for good people doing good work in the arts. Through scholarships, we can encourage people with those dreams to pursue them.

— Amy Barkley Mills (B.A. Performing Arts, ’12; C.T. Nonprofit Administration, ’18)

Pamela Sachs-Kapp and 	Jim Sawyer
Pamela Sachs-Kapp and Jim Sawyer
Pamela and Jim 1

Love Stories - Pamela Sachs-Kapp

It was in my CSU sociology classes where I discovered one of my passions: counseling. I was fascinated by people’s thoughts and behaviors, and studied how families, spirituality, and interpersonal communication influenced each person. I especially wanted to connect with teens who, because of their raw honesty, could work through and sometimes overcome, their own personal struggles and thrive. I dedicated my career to this work and loved it.

After finishing my degree, I reconnected with an old CSU friend, Fred, and we fell in love, spending many years in a long-distance relationship. Eventually, we returned to Colorado and I earned my master’s in education in counseling at CSU. I spent my career as a counselor, eventually working at Centennial High School and Fort Collins High School when it was in what is now the University Center for the Arts.

I loved working with kids and Fred felt the same. He started at CSU in Admissions and worked his way up to become the associate director of Admissions. We were heavily involved at CSU – attending football and basketball games and being a part of the faculty and staff community. We also both loved the music programs that CSU provided. I even co-taught a diversity course with CSU’s School of Education that brought together CSU education majors with my high school students at Centennial.

When students came into my classes or office, I wanted them to feel like there was no one else as important as they were.  I wanted them to know that I really heard them. Fred was the same with his students.

Tragically, Fred passed away at a young age due to kidney failure. I never thought I’d have another relationship after him. Then, serendipitously, I met Jim online and the rest is history! For my birthday, Jim named a seat after me and I am very touched. It is a lasting legacy that my daughters can see and remember the special connection our family has to CSU.

— Pamela Sachs-Kapp (M.Ed., ’81)

"Pamela is deeply connected to the university and the community. When we are out and about, she still has former students recognize her and many CSU colleagues that she has kept in touch with over the years. I wanted to celebrate the impact she has made on so many and commemorate her history at CSU."

— Jim Sawyer

Celebrating Teachers - Gary and Carol Ann Hixon

We are always looking for ways to say thank you to educators. We know how hard they work and believe they should be rewarded for exemplary teaching. Naming a Seat is a permanent ‘thank you’ for two CSU faculty members who have touched our lives and made a real difference on students.

Jane Slusarski-Harris
Jane Slusarski-Harris
Roger Hanna
Roger Hanna

We met Jane Slusarski-Harris more than 40 years ago when she was a dancer for the Canyon Concert Ballet. Our young daughters were dancing with the group and Jane really took them under her wing, acting as a mentor and supporter. Jane went on to direct and teach the CSU dance program and built it up, spending 30 years at CSU. She retired last spring. We have been impressed with the tremendous impact she has made on CSU students.

We met theatre professor, Roger Hanna, when we were putting on our annual ArtWear Fashion Show. It is a special way that we fundraise for visual arts programs in the Fort Collins community, and one year we were given the opportunity to host it on the big stage in the Lincoln Center. We had never staged a production this large and knew we were going to need someone with expertise to help make our event a success.

We approached Roger to see if he would be willing to help, and he jumped right into the project, donating his time and talent. He brought a lighting student and built backdrops, which helped us focus on the art and philanthropic side of the event.

He didn’t have to do it, but he joined our project full-heartedly and has been involved ever since. He is a great example of the kind of people who break down that ‘town gown’ mentality and pitch in for the good of all.

The arts are the soul of a community and we believe that the UCA, and CSU arts faculty, play an important role in Fort Collins. They act as a bridge between the CSU and Fort Collins communities, inviting different groups to use the space and making the arts welcoming for so many people.

— Carol Ann (M.Ed., ’69) and Gary Hixon (B.F.A., ’69)

Carol Ann and Gary Hixon
Carol Ann and Gary Hixon

Feeling inspired? Join these alumni and friends by Naming a Seat in the University Center for the Arts. Learn more at nameaseat.colostate.edu.

Questions about how to name a seat? Contact Shannon Dale at Shannon.Dale@colostate.edu.