Wright Performing Arts Center
Robert Herring Wright (1879-1934) was President of East Carolina Teachers Training School from 1908 until his death in 1934. Wright was a graduate of UNC in 1897 and furthered his education at John Hopkins University and Columbia University during the renaissance of Progressive education. He guided East Carolina through its early growth and saw it firmly established as an important North Carolina College.
The campus building named in honor of President Wright on March 12, 1936 was completed in 1927 and served as the social and religious facility for the campus. The large brick structure has an arched portico complements earlier campus brick buildings as well as presenting almost identical architectural lines as Whichard Building. Alterations and additions through the decades have enlarged the building so that it now contains an auditorium as well as Dowdy Student Stores and “The Wright Place” food court.
On May 10, 1970, a fire destroyed part of the building. This was reported as the third blaze in two weeks and vandalism was believed to be the cause.
A third renovation of the building was begun in 1981. At a cost of $1.239 million the auditorium was improved, the exterior brightened and a new roof put on. The balcony which ringed three sides of the auditorium was removed and replaced by a new one in the rear of the auditorium. The upper windows were bricked up and the stage was extended approximately 10 feet to provide more adequate space for full orchestras and larger productions. The building also received an elevator.