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The Bequest behind Hill Auditorium

Hill Auditorium

In 1894, Albert A. Stanley, director of what was then the School of Music, and Frances W. Kelsey, president of the University Musical Society, determined the need for an adequate auditorium for the university. By 1895, plans had been drawn and the university attempted to raise funds for the project for many years.

In 1904, Arthur Hill (’65E), whose first term as regent began in 1901, became interested in the project. Unbeknownst to others, he inserted a provision in his will to provide $200,000 for such a building, which was made public after his death (1909). The famous Detroit firm of Albert Kahn and Associates designed the hall, successfully incorporating the two characteristics most desired by the university: a large size and excellent acoustics.

Since opening in 1913, Hill Auditorium has been a showplace for some of the world’s most renowned performing artists. Home to important artistic debuts and historic speeches, it has provided Ann Arbor area audiences with access to unsurpassed cultural experiences and has been an inspirational venue for students at U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance for 100 years. With its superb acoustics, Hill Auditorium is known and loved throughout the musical world.

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