Remembering Lynch

Elizabeth Mitch, Staff Writer

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“Farewell to Lynch,” a night for students and faculty to gather and remember Lynch Auditorium before the building will be torn down later this semester, takes place on Feb 5. at 7 p.m. in Lynch Auditorium. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

In a few days, we will be saying farewell to a beloved building on the University of Dallas campus: Lynch Auditorium, a building that has housed senior convocations, classic film viewings, Masses and theater productions. Sybil Novinski, the keeper of UD history, points out that many of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century have spoken in Lynch. Freshmen may even remember being introduced to the Groundhog by energetic orientation leaders inside Lynch Auditorium. Many memories echo within its walls.

“Lynch was so many different things,” said Christina Nguyen, coordinator of the upcoming event, “Farewell to Lynch,” a night offering a last chance to perform in and honor one of UD’s original buildings. In the spirit of the many quirky performances that have taken place in that auditorium, the UD faculty decided to have an event that reflected that characteristic of the hall, with a candlelit procession, a eulogy given by Fr. Thomas Esposito, various student acts and a finale of sad song karaoke. Nguyen said students could sign up to perform lip syncs, skits, interpretive dances and speeches.

“A couple of people have asked to do some really live performances, so that’s really exciting for us. People are really getting into it,” Nguyen said.

The building itself is named after Bishop Joseph Lynch, legendary for being the longest serving United States Catholic bishop and one who served during a time when the city council was composed entirely of Ku Klux Klan members, infamous for persecuting social groups like Catholics.

In his unfinished history of the hall, professor emeritus of art Lyle Novisnki described the space as “a well designed and constructed structure in the architectural grammar of the 1950s modernism, it was designed as a very flexible public space.” He wrote that its initial goal was to provide good seating and acoustics with “a scale that could accommodate large bodies of people, or scattered smaller classes.”

However, alumni and students of UD can agree that Lynch has become so much more than just a well-sized auditorium. Fr. Thomas Esposito, who will be giving a eulogy for the hall, is enthusiastic about “Farewell to Lynch.”

“This is a quintessential UD event,” Esposito said. “There is an element of seriousness, a strong dash of silliness and it’s altogether a weird thing.”

Fr. Thomas strives to make his eulogy both respectful of Lynch’s memory and a bit funny.

“I’ve never given a eulogy of a person or thing that has not died yet, so that’s going to be difficult,” Esposito said.

As an alumnus, Esposito will even draw on his own experience in Lynch.

“I do have some very distinct memories of Lynch, from my participation in Male Auctions, to play performances – which involved a certain piece of the back wall being destroyed … stay tuned!” Esposito said.

In addition to the eulogy, some of the UD staff have been preparing a video with clips of faculty, staff and students memorializing Lynch. The video will be shown at the event and afterwards posted online.

Though this now-iconic building will be missed, the future for the grounds of Lynch is promising.

“The plan is to have a landmark administrative center that’s maybe three stories tall,” Esposito said. “Something really nice to catch the eye of people coming off of Northgate, so that it can be a welcoming spot.”

As sad as Lynch’s departure will be, the tearing down of Lynch Auditorium can cause us to smile with pride at the ever-growing community that has outgrown this 350-seat building.

Attend “Letting Go of Lynch” on Feb. 5, 2016 at 7 p.m. to say farewell to a building that has brought so much joy to the UD community.

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