The Theresa Dee Meis Recital Hall was constructed in the summer of 1981 with furnishings completed during the following school year. The 150-seat recital and lecture hall provides a facility for recitals, choir rehearsals, and related activities of the music department. It also serves as a lecture room for larger classes and workshops.
The construction of the recital hall was made possible by a generous gift of the Donald and Theresa Meis family in memory of Theresa, a longtime member of the Briar Cliff (College) University Board of Trustees. Theresa graduated from Briar Cliff College with a degree in sociology. She worked for Catholic Charities in Sioux City, IA and later as a psychopathic hospital social worker in Iowa City, IA. Theresa was an active and dedicated supporter of Briar Cliff where she organized the Briar Cliff National Alumni Association and was its first president. In 1956, Theresa was the recipient of the first alumnae honor award presented by the Alumni Association.
The recital hall houses two seven-foot Steinway grand pianos. The ebony Grand (Model B) Steinway Pianos are carefully hand-crafted instruments, taking over a year to build. No metal-to-wood connections are used in the construction. Wood fitted to wood, dowelled and glued are a feature of every Steinway piano and part of the reason for the quality of the sound, helping produce a quick, crisp, and responsive touch. The beauty of these pianos goes beyond the obvious and the quality that is built into the sound, touch, and look is always apparent, but not always visible. The two Steinway pianos were a gift to the department of music from the Donald and Theresa Meis family and Kathleen Damme, former professor of chemistry.
The bronze relief portrait of Theresa Dee Meis, which hangs on the back wall of the recital hall, is the work of William J. Welu, emeritus professor of art, Briar Cliff University.
The Theresa Dee Meis Recital Hall was dedicated on June 23, 1982 with a 5:15 p.m. Liturgy in our Lady of Grace Chapel and a 8:00 p.m. recital given by music faculty: Sister Mary Day, Sister Mary Arnold Staudt, Richard Steinbach and Weyburn Wasson.
Prior to 1981 the room was a non-regulation gymnasium which housed a small stage. In the first thirty years of the college, classes in physical education, intramurals, choir rehearsals, theatre productions, and lectures were held in the gymnasium.