The auditorium at the Etta and Joseph Miller Performing Arts Center was named Thursday after the late David R. Goller — an attorney who, in death, will give new life to the auditorium's technical features and the Miller Center's appearance through a new endowment fund established with the Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation.
The David R. Goller Trust has a corpus of just over $636,000, JCPS Foundation Executive Director Karen Enloe announced Thursday in the Miller Center's auditorium to an audience of fifth-graders from West, North, Moreau Heights, East, South and Callaway Hills elementary schools.
The elementary students were at the David R. Goller Auditorium to watch performances by Jefferson City High School students in orchestra, choir and band — to see the opportunities they can have in middle and high school.
Jefferson City Public Schools will be able to draw $13,000-$15,000 in interest each year off the body of the trust, Enloe said.
That money can be used to pay for improvements to the auditorium's lighting, sound or other technical systems to improve the quality of performances, or for improvements to beautify the interior of the Miller Center.
The Miller Center's technical director, Gabrielle Wittenberger, said the auditorium's original fixtures are 12-13 years old, so new lighting is one of the main things she hopes to upgrade — including to install "more intelligent lighting" in the form of moving stage lights, such as those that might be found at a rock concert.
"He's always been a lover of the arts," Enloe said of the late Goller, who died March 20, 2018, in Naples, Florida, at age 86.
He was an attorney in Jefferson City for more than 60 years and "advised his clients to establish charitable trusts which would benefit their community," according to a news release from the JCPS Foundation.
"(Goller) passionately supported charities, educational and religious organizations, especially the University of Missouri School of Law, Samaritan Center, Cole County Historical Society, Etta and Joseph Miller Performing Arts Center, Easter Seals, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Grace Episcopal Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Lutheran High School Association d/b/a Calvary High School and Salvation Army," according to his obituary.
Goller worked with the late Etta Miller to plan her estate, Enloe said. That work included structuring the original gift to JCPS to establish the Miller Center, according to the foundation's news release.
Etta Miller's initial donation and additional private donations from the community raised $4.5 million for a renovation, and the renovated facility was dedicated in October 2005.
Goller also commissioned a local artist to paint portraits of the Millers and a large mural — all of which are displayed in the center.
Signage showing the auditorium has been named after him is not up yet, Enloe said.
Superintendent Larry Linthacum, who was also at the announcement Thursday, said the district appreciates community partnerships — especially ones such as this that help students find their passions — and he appreciates Enloe's leadership in helping create those partnerships.