Harrisburg University and the Whitaker Center Announce Unique Partnership, expands into Esports

As prelude to the forthcoming first annual Harrisburg University HUE Festival combining Esports and music on September 21/22, 2018, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, have announced a unique, synergistic partnership involving not only joint programming initiatives, but shared physical space.

The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts was the first center of its kind to use science as an entry to the arts. Its 130,000 square feet includes the 200-seat Select Medical Digital Cinema (formerly an IMAX theatre), the three-floor Hasbro Science Center, the 696-seat Sunoco Performance Theater, Discovery Lab classrooms, and multi-purpose rooms.

The visionary and entrepreneurial initiatives of the Whitaker Center’s President and CEO, Ted Black, and Harrisburg University President, Eric Darr, combined with the geographic proximity of the Whitaker Center to Harrisburg University, created an obvious synergy.

The Whitaker Center and Harrisburg University plan to take a leadership position in promoting Esports from high school through the professional ranks. They will do this by working together to transform sections of the Whitaker Center into state-of-the-art Esports facilities nurturing HU’s Esports teams, as well as regional Esports initiatives.

For Harrisburg University, the Whitaker Center offers much needed reconfigurable space, two existing theaters, and a willing partnership.

As stated by Ted Black, “Working together with HU on Esports made sense on a number of levels. First, it is a highly entertaining, visual and engaging form of entertainment. HU will provide a championship caliber team and Whitaker Center will provide a world-class facility.”

This synergy quickly expanded into the realization that a shared facility could become an attraction nurturing youth, adult, and recreational leagues throughout all of Southcentral Pennsylvania.

Ted Black emphasized, “As a cultural phenomenon, and one of the fastest growing spectator events, Esports is a natural offering for public performances in both of our theaters.”

Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, noted during a recent visit that the combined efforts of HU and Whitaker are poised to transform the Whitaker Center into one of the best collegiate Esports venues in North America.

From the Whitaker’s perspective, expanding into Esports is a natural extension of its core mission. Video games serve as gateways into learning about graphic arts, spatial reasoning, memory, perception, problem-solving, and storytelling, all ideal topics for a center dedicated to science and the arts.

This unique cooperation will be on display, September 21 and 22, 2018, when the first annual HUE Festival of Gaming and Music takes over multiple city blocks in the heart of downtown Harrisburg, capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Presented by iHeart Radio and ALT 99.3, gamers from colleges around the country will gather on HU’s campus to make it to the final rounds, to be held in the state-of-the-art facilities at the Whitaker Center.

The full listing of participating colleges and universities is as follows:

- Ashland University
Bellevue University
Columbia College
- Culver-Stockton College
- Georgia State University
- Grand View University
- Indiana Tech University
- Lebanon Valley College
- Maryville University
- Miami Ohio University
- Morningside College
- St. Ambrose University
- SUNY Canton
- Union County College
- University of Akron
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- University of Louisiana – Lafayette
- Ohio State University
- Penn State University
- University of Illinois

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