Completed in 1971, the James W. and Dorothy A. Laurie Auditorium was the first building on Trinity’s campus large enough to accommodate the entire faculty and student body in a single setting. The theatre was named for the 14th president of Trinity University, James Laurie, who was responsible for drastically increasing Trinity’s endowment. This in turn allowed the university to construct a new, modern campus on what was a former limestone quarry, deeming it the “University on the Hill”. Designed by O’Neil Ford and Bartlett Cocke architects, G.W. Mitchell Construction began construction of the parking garage in 1968 and the auditorium in 1970 for a combined cost of $3,277,285. This project marked the 16th construction job completed by G.W. Mitchell Construction on Trinity’s campus. The superintendent on the job, Freeman Oates, had previously worked on the Atkinson Residence (which today is the McNay Art Institute- our first “flashback friday”) 42 years earlier as a laborer for G.W. Mitchell.
Today, Laurie Auditorium is a unique venue that plays an important role in both campus life and the life of San Antonio. The amphitheater design and wide stage allow for unobstructed views throughout the hall. The largest on-campus facility, Laurie Auditorium seats 2,700. As the center of the cultural and social life of Trinity University, Laurie Auditorium also provides San Antonio with an important venue for the continued growth of its entertainment industry. At Laurie Auditorium, one will find regular performances by the San Antonio Symphony, shows by the Arts San Antonio organization, appearances by popular political and social speakers, and as well as more contemporary performances, with appearances from popular performers or concerts by the latest musical artists and bands.