The curtain went up on the revival of Xavier Auditorium at the Xavier Academic Complex (XAC) when the renovated theater opened its new glass doors last fall.Built in 1929, this once-functional auditorium was part of St. Francis Xavier Academy that included classrooms, a convent, chapel, rectory, cafeteria, laboratories and gymnasium all designed to accommodate Rhode Island’s burgeoning need for Catholic schools. Later, the site was operated by the Sisters of Mercy for similar purposes. In 1984, JWU purchased the complex from the Diocese of Providence and converted it into student dormitories, faculty offices and classrooms. Today, it is home to both the College of Business and The Hospitality College.A trademark of JWU is its innovative ability to transform its campuses through renovations and strategic planning. Despite earlier additions and renovations, the university held off any changes to the auditorium until 2003 when a revitalization study was commissioned. At the same time, campus leaders learned that McVinney Hall, a nearby amphitheater frequently used for large gatherings and events, was closing. With the news, timing was right for Xavier’s next act.“Xavier Auditorium has become a jewel for our campus community,” Irving Schneider, Ph.D., Providence Campus president, said of the restoration. Xavier Auditorium holds 550 theater-quality seats — significantly less than the original 1,076 designed for a generation of smaller frames. The reduced capacity makes for more comfort, quality acoustics, and allows for an entrance foyer, according to Chris Placco, vice president of facilities management.Computer-modeled plans ensured good sightlines from every seat. Iconographic reminders of the original auditorium are retained, blended with dramatic lighting, state-of-the-art technology and first class audio-visual capability.“We’ve maintained the integrity of its original beauty with a balance of contemporary design and technology,” said Schneider with kudos for the crew. “A round of applause to our facilities team for their precision and creativity.”The venue is a premier setting for lectures, presentations and small performances. Concepts for future distance-learning and video-conferencing are under consideration.