By Juanita I.C. Traughber, Communications Director
As a lasting tribute long after Director Vince Durnan’s last walk down our hallways, the Board of Trustees has named the heart of University School of Nashville’s Edgehill Campus the Durnan Auditorium.
During an intimate reception on Sunday, May 15 for Durnan, Ed.D., the longest-serving Director in the history of USN or its predecessor Peabody Demonstration School, the Board of Trustees recognized him for his 22 years of service. The evening brought together Durnan’s family, school administrators, and current and former USNA Presidents and Trustees, including 12 Board Presidents.
Board of Trustees President Ivanetta Davis Samuels ’86 also presented a proclamation in his honor. David Kloeppel, 2013-2016 Board President, announced $1.5 million in additional gifts to the Vincent W. Durnan Jr. Endowed Scholarship in recent months with the continued goal of tripling this fund established in 2017 to support students with financial need.
“Each one of these recognitions has been a way for us to express our gratitude for all Vince has done in his 22 years. His complete dedication to this institution, our families, our kids, our teachers, our employees, its program, its history, and its home,” said Trustee Emeritus Frank Garrison. “He has consistently tirelessly set quite an example above all others, and his impact has been felt throughout the entire educational community in Nashville.”
Durnan reflected on the evening’s honors and special announcements with humility, gratitude for the collective work of the USN community, and a charge for those in the room to continue supporting the school and its leadership.
“We're taking care of this place, and other people took care of it before us. With any luck, people are going to keep taking care of it afterward,” Durnan said. “So tonight, this room is our room. And I think someday someone is going to remember that we were here. They're going to say we took pretty good care of the place. And how beautiful is that?”
The foremost caretaker for the school, Durnan has shepherded restorations and improvements to University School of Nashville’s historic 1925 McKim, Mead & White building, including the original Auditorium. In June 1954, the space suffered a fire. During the summers of 2019 and 2020, construction crews replaced the brick and mortar on its exterior.
The Durnan Auditorium is a place where students, families, alumni, faculty, and staff have gathered, played, performed, learned, remembered, and celebrated. Alumni and families from decades past may remember performing in plays on the stage, registering for classes before the opening of the school year, and attending Proms or Commencements in the space. Those passing through the Edgehill Lobby find it bustling on most days with musical and theater rehearsals, alumni or parent gatherings, and weekly assemblies.