Our History

Illustration of Zoellner Arts Center

Prior to 1990, Lehigh University's Taylor Stadium (football games relocated to Goodman campus in 1988) occupied the site that currently houses the Rauch Business Center (built 1990) and Zoellner Arts Center. In April of 1995, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for Zoellner and in September of 1997 the stage lights came up in the 105,000-square-foot facility during a weekend celebration of the arts. The university's vibrant arts and culture scene, that was previously staged in any space that could be adapted to accommodate a performance, such as Wilbur Powerhouse, Grace Hall, Packard Lab Auditorium, and even the old dining room in Lamberton Hall, finally had a permanent home.

The building, designed by Philadelphia architects Dagit Saylor, houses three theatres: a 1,002-seat proscenium theatre (Baker Hall), a 307-seat thrust theatre (Diamond Theatre), and a 125-seat black box theatre. It also houses a two-story art gallery, several rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, dance studio, scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms and green room, practice rooms, classrooms, a music library, box office, faculty and staff offices, and three large lobbies suitable for receptions. A 345-car parking deck is attached to the center.

Approaching its 25th year, Zoellner is the physical home of the Lehigh University Art Galleries, the Music and Theatre Departments, and the Presenting Series; it hosts over 250 events a year including many student club activities, as well as, campus and community events. The Presenting Series has brought a wide array of multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural performances to Baker Hall's stage, including Tony Bennett, Yo-Yo Ma, John Lithgow, the New York Philharmonic, Itzhak Perlman, Boz Scaggs, Bobby McFerrin, Cirque Eloize and Momix. Over 50,000 people are welcomed through its doors each year. 

The mission of Zoellner Arts Center is to infuse the arts into the life of Lehigh University and the greater Lehigh Valley community by presenting high-quality multi-disciplinary programs, by fostering life-long patronage of the arts, and by integrating our educational resources to enhance our human experience. We are uniquely positioned as a community hub to enrich the lives of all who surround and inhabit our venues. We invite you to join us.