FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne is proud to announce that the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation has donated $1 million to the university for its efforts in creating the Purdue School of Music on the Fort Wayne campus. The grant will serve as a transformational catalyst that supports a vision to create a top music program by funding 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.
“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 operating entities.* As a result, going forward the 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.”
“English Bonter Mitchell is excited about the future of Purdue Fort Wayne and to come alongside the university as they envision the first Purdue School of Music,” said Mike Eikenberry, foundation chairman. “Our foundation embraces projects that will enhance our community. For the university to build a premier School of Music, it will bring notoriety to Fort Wayne, to the northeast region, and beyond. We look forward to seeing the progress ahead for this institution.”
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).
“This tremendous gift is another recognition of the truly superb musicians we have on our faculty who guide our talented and eager aspiring musicians,” said John O’Connell, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “This gift affords us the opportunity to continue to enhance our local, regional, national, and international reputation as we have been doing steadily in the last three to five years.”
Other goals for the school are to increase the number of national music festivals and symposia on campus as well as festivals and workshops for developing artists; amplify training and national reputation with appearances of student performers and ensembles at prestigious regional, national, and international venues; and enrich partnerships with Sweetwater, a national leader in music technology, to offer students distinctive experiences in sound recording, business, and live sound production.
“We are deeply appreciative to the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation for this wonderful, transformational gift, as well as the continued support they provide us for programs such as the Omnibus Lecture Series,” said Angie Fincannon, vice chancellor for advancement. “I truly believe that this bold gesture of support models a partnership that can make a tremendous impact on this community and appreciate the foundation’s support and encouragement.”
The chair of the music department said they were assured they would be okay during realignment. He said this development will make the already impressive program top of the line. “We had to kind of have that constant conversation in the public to ensure people that we weren’t going anywhere. In fact, I see this as a huge opportunity for us,” Gregory Jones said.
He’s looking forward to all of the possibilities ahead. “We’re excited. We’re bullish. We are so pleased with what’s going on in the arts and music here and with so many things that we do, not just in this building, but with our community partners and outreach. Fort Wayne is always going to have a thriving arts center on this campus and hopefully a school of music is part of that.”