Foundation pledges $1M to Purdue Fort Wayne music school

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) IPFW announced Wednesday morning that the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation has pledged $1 million to help in the establishment of the Purdue School of Music on the Fort Wayne campus.

The donation will fund new degrees in music technology and jazz performance studies; a graduate program in music therapy and music education; post-baccalaureate international performers certificate; national music festivals and symposia on campus; real-world experience in Nashville; and a world-class addition of a recording studio to the Rhinehart Music Center according to a news release from IPFW.

“We are extremely grateful for this gift and the opportunities it creates to inspire, challenge, and celebrate our outstanding music students,” said Chancellor Vicky Carwein. “English Bonter Mitchell has been a great supporter of the university in many ways, contributing more than $6.3 million over the years, and this gift shows its continued commitment to student success and higher education in our region. We look forward to being able to continually offer exceptional opportunities to our talented students who will become future musicians and contributors to our community and beyond.”

In late 2016, the Purdue University and Indiana University Boards of Trustees voted to realign IPFW into two separate entities in a move still awaiting approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

As a result, music degrees earned on the Fort Wayne campus will be conferred by Purdue, becoming the only music degrees within the Purdue system.

“For years, our university has housed tremendous vocal, instrumental, and music technology programs,” said Greg Jones, chair and professor of music. “As the campus takes a new place in the Purdue family, an unprecedented opportunity exists to make history by growing the Department of Music into a School of Music, the first in Purdue University’s history.”

Goals for the new Purdue Fort Wayne School of Music include enhancing and building programs to better serve students, including:

  • enriching the music technology offerings with a new degree that will allow for interdisciplinary paths in sound recording technology, music business, and commercial music;
  • expanding the existing jazz minor into a degree in jazz performance studies;
  • developing new graduate programs in music to meet increasing regional demands in music therapy and music education; and
  • creating the first-of-its-kind post-baccalaureate international performers certificate that combines intensive applied and ensemble training with English as a second language training (ESL).