This structure is a unique and highly-used facility for both the College and the Salisbury-Rowan County community and was named in 1987 in honor of Blanche S. and Julian H. Robertson of Salisbury, long-time supporters of the College, its programs and activities, and in recognition of the Robertson family's generous support of Catawba. The Center contains the 1450-seat Keppel Auditorium; the 240-seat Hedrick Little Theater; the Peeler Crystal Lounge, a spacious glass-walled room for seminars, banquets, conferences, and dances; and the Brady Courtyard, an area between the Peeler Crystal Lounge and Hedrick Little Theatre used for receptions and various types of socials.
The Center is also home for the Adrian L. and Dorothy L. Shuford, Jr. School of Performing Arts. Designed as a facility for the display of performing arts, the Center contains a common stage area for the main auditorium and little theatre. This feature allows wide flexibility in staging various events. There is an extensive rigging and fly-storage area backstage along with facilities for scenery preparation and costume design and production.
The Center was built in 1964 with contributions from the citizens of the Salisbury and Rowan County community. The auditorium is named in memory of Dr. A.R. Keppel, fourteenth president of Catawba College (1942- 63); the little theatre is named in memory of Mr. and Mrs. B.V. Hedrick of Salisbury, benefactors of the College; the Crystal Lounge is named in honor of the late Mr. Clifford A. Peeler of Salisbury, trustee emeritus of the College, and the courtyard is named in honor of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Brady of Salisbury, N.C. Mr. Brady was a member of the Class of 1930. The School of Performing Arts is named in honor of Adrian L. and Dorothy L. Shuford, Jr. of Conover, N.C. The late Mr. Shuford was a trustee emeritus and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees 1951-77; Mrs. Shuford is a professional concert pianist and serves as an adjunct member of the Department of Music faculty.