Letterman cheered at building dedication


MUNCIE, Ind. -- David Letterman says it will be convenient having a building named after him at his alma mater.

"Forget your name -- just check the building," he said.

That was part of a Top-10 list the talk-show host and Ball State University graduate read Friday during the dedication ceremony for the David Letterman Communication and Media Building.

Thousands of Ball State students and others turned out for the ceremony, with the chant "We want Dave! We want Dave!" frequently coming from the crowd that, amid intermittent rain, spilled along the sidewalks and street running in front of the building.

Letterman was joined by his four-year-old son, Harry, and mother, Dorothy, for the ceremony, during which he asked the crowd whether he still needed to wear his name badge.

The Letterman Building, which has been used since fall semester classes started a few weeks ago, is much snazzier than the facilities Letterman had as a Ball State student in the 1960s when he was a disc jockey for WBST-FM.

The 75,000 square-foot building includes studio and office space and is open to students 24 hours a day. It features a $1 million production complex with five surround-sound editing suites and two surround-sound recording studios.

Letterman several years ago had a running gag on his show about Ball State naming its football stadium for him and once joked that the school had denied him an honorary degree because the one it had given him was pretty much honorary itself.

Ball State has had a Letterman Scholarship since 1985 for students in the Department of Telecommunications, which has a wall plaque from Letterman dedicated to "all 'C' students before and after me!"

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora said the idea to name the building for Letterman first was discussed among school trustees about a year ago, but they had to persuade him to accept the honor because he didn't want the attention.

Letterman said during Friday's ceremony that his son seemed unimpressed when his father's name was mentioned.

"I hope one day it will mean something to my son that his dad has his name on a building," Letterman said. "And who knows, maybe it will help him impress girls."