Much of the area between the chapel and pond was transformed during the 21st-century renovation, including the completion of the Wallace Spencer Stepenske Amphitheater in September 2019.
The plaza in the space honors Wallace “Spencer” Stepenske ’64, who left an estate gift to Central for more than $1 million. The area on the east side of the chapel can host outdoor celebrations, lectures, performances, classes and other gatherings, and provides another beautiful spot on campus.
Stepenske earned a bachelor’s degree with majors in business and economics from Central. His campus activities included participation in the Championship Current Affairs Quiz and serving as business manager for Homecoming and for The Pelican, the college’s yearbook.
Following graduation, Stepenske moved to Denver, Colorado, to work in the banking industry. Years later he enrolled in graduate school at the University of Arizona to study geography. From there, he headed to California and taught for 30 years in the California College Systems. He died on April 9, 2018.
A dedication event for the amphitheater was held Sept. 27, 2019. A plaque honoring Stepenske reads:
“This amphitheater was made possible through a generous gift from the estate of Mr. Wallace Spencer Stepenske, Central College Class of 1964. A Colorado native, ‘Spencer’ left home to attend Central where he studied business and economics. Following graduation, he returned to Denver to work in the banking industry. Years later he studied geography in graduate school and pursued a new profession. He taught for 30 years in the California College System before retiring in 2000.
“Spencer’s quirky sense of humor and a flair for the unexpected may have influenced his generous and under-the-radar donation. As one friend recalled, “You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth, but everyone loved him.”