McKendree University has announced the promotion of Elizabeth Crabtree to director of the Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center of the Arts, (“the Hett”), effective immediately.
She succeeds Peter Palermo, who became the executive director of The Sheldon Arts Foundation in St. Louis on Dec. 3, 2018, and directed the Hett since its opening in 2006.
“As a colleague, Peter was very influential in preparing me for a successful career in arts administration,” said Crabtree. “I am passionate about the performing arts and the Hett, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Since its opening in November 2006, the 488-seat Hettenhausen Center has become Southern Illinois’ premier performing arts venue, presenting world-class dance, drama, classical music and jazz. Crabtree was hired as the box office manager in 2014 and promoted to assistant director of patron services in 2017. She has worked closely with Friends of the Hett donors, patrons and guests; assisted in managing more than 250 events per year; and supervised student employees and interns.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to promote an employee who has worked to grow and expand her knowledge of this field and who has served the Hett well,” said Dr. James Dennis, McKendree University president. “Liz has a solid understanding of the Hett and its patrons, which will benefit her greatly in her new role.”
As director, she will manage the artist and speaker selection, scheduling, promotion and production for a wide variety of “McKendree Presents” programs and the McCammon Distinguished Speaker Series. She will also work with the university’s Division of Visual and Performing Arts to present student music and dance performances and theatre productions.
A resident of O’Fallon, Ill., Crabtree is a member of the Honorary Commanders at Scott Air Force Base, and secretary and board member of the Plains Presenters Consortium. In 2018, she was selected as a David Fraher Future Leaders Scholar by the Arts Midwest organization.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Park University and is currently pursuing a master of business administration degree in management at McKendree University.