Friends University celebrates groundbreaking event on $7.2 million project to renovate and expand Riney Fine Arts Center

Friends University is elated to celebrate the groundbreaking event for the $7.2 million project to renovate and expand the Riney Fine Arts Center on Thursday, June 29 at 4 p.m. in the Riney Fine Arts Center Art Gallery. 

“The Riney Fine Arts Center is a significant aspect of the Friends University campus,” said Dr. Amy Bragg Carey, president of Friends University. “This much needed expansion and renovation is made possible because of the tireless work by the Advancement Department to secure the funds, the dedication of our Board of Trustees, and support from the Fine Arts faculty. We could not have done it without the generosity of our donors and patrons who believe in the arts and support the mission of Friends University. We are truly thankful to bless the community with beautiful and modern updates to the Riney Fine Arts Center along with the addition of a worship space in the new Chapel.” 

The Riney Fine Arts Center has had a home on the Friends University campus since the 1960s. Formerly known as Whittier Fine Arts Center, the building was renamed the Riney Fine Arts Center in 2005 in honor of long-time Fine Arts Chairman and Singing Quakers Director Cecil J. Riney. The building serves the areas of music, dance, drama and art with classrooms, music and dance studios, a music library, an art exhibition space, a large recital hall and Sebits Auditorium which is used for recitals, lectures and dramatic productions.  

The Riney Fine Arts project is the final phase of the Rise Up Capital Campaign which includes a grand new entrance; updated auditorium, dance studio, black box theatre and technology enhancements; and the addition of a sacred chapel/recital hall.     

Simpson Construction Services has been selected as the contractor to complete the Riney Fine Arts Center renovation and addition with a vision provided by Shelden Architecture. 

“We are privileged and deeply thankful to be working with Friends University again, this time on the Riney Fine Arts Center project,” said Jared Simpson, president of Simpson Construction Services. “Together with the University and Shelden Architecture, we will be giving the space a renewed life that reflects the values of the university and will enhance the educational experience for future generations.” 

For additional information on the Riney Fine Arts Center groundbreaking and updates on the RISE Up Capital Campaign, visit  

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.  

Groundbreaking Reception Riney Fine Arts Center Renovations