Carson-Newman news office
JEFFERSON CITY — Carson-Newman University held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 30 for the Randall and Kay O’Brien Amphitheater.
The amphitheater honors former university president Randall O’Brien and his wife, Kay.
“Having the opportunity to honor Dr. Randall and Kay O’Brien is truly special,” said C-N president Charles Fowler. “We are thankful for them and have been blessed by their leadership and love for this university. I also recognize that it is upon Dr. O’Brien’s shoulders that I stand.
“He fulfilled the desire of every effective president. He left the university stronger than he found it. I pray I do the same.”
The ceremony had to be moved inside the Holt Fieldhouse due to bad weather. The open-air amphitheater accommodates nearly 900 people with the potential for additional seating in the surrounding green space. It features tiered seating built into the hillside facing Mossy Creek, sidewalk pavers and a raised stage area for musical, theatrical, academic and community uses.
O’Brien retired at the end of 2018 after serving as C-N president for 10 years. He formerly served as executive vice president and provost at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. O’Brien has served as pastor or interim pastor of nearly 20 churches. He is a Vietnam War veteran and Bronze Star recipient.
In addition to serving as first lady of C-N, Mrs. O’Brien cofounded Carson-Newman’s Women of Vision in 2011 along with Vickie Butler, then vice president of university advancement. She served the organization until 2018.
C-N’s board of trustees approved the concept for the amphitheater in the fall of 2018, launching the initiative to find a location and raise funds. The Mossy Creek location was O’Brien’s first choice after its restoration as a park area in 2017.
Jefferson City’s government officially approved the site in 2019 and the amphitheater was completed in the fall of this year. The university plans to add a sound system and restroom facilities in the near future. B&R