Schwab Auditorium was the first Penn State building financed by a private gift. Bethlehem Steel Corporation founder Charles M. Schwab, a University trustee for thirty years, gave $150,000 to build the classic revival auditorium. Completed in 1903, Schwab houses a proscenium stage and a 900-seat, Renaissance-style seating area. The auditorium was renovated in the summer of 1999. New carpeting, drapery, and seats were installed and the interior walls were painted.
Schwab's performance space is used for the chamber music concerts presented by the Center for the Performing Arts and other University events ranging from student performances to speeches by noteworthy visitors. The Thespians, the University's oldest student organization, stages its musicals at Schwab.
In all, the auditorium is used for about seventy-five events a year. Amernet String Quartet, Artis Quartet, Bartok Quartet, David Breitman, Emerson String Quartet, Spalding Gray, Hampton String Quartet, Juilliard String Quartet, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Musicians from Marlboro, Sanford Sylvan, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Street Sounds, Turtle Island String Quartet, and Eugenia Zukerman are among the artists who have performed at Schwab in recent years.
The auditorium also is used during fall and spring semesters for film and lecture courses. The College of Arts and Architecture's computer support staff is located in the building.