$8M gift from alumnus to benefit music students, faculty

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$8M gift from alumnus to benefit music students, faculty

Glenn Korff gift
Craig Chandler | University Communications
John Bailey and Gretchen Foley sign a bass drum during the Aug. 20 celebration of an $8 million gift by Glenn Korff. The drum is a gift for Korff.

Generations of students and faculty members in the School of Music will benefit from an $8 million gift from UNL alumnus Glenn Korff to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The gift from the fourth-generation Nebraskan creates a permanently endowed fund to provide annual support for students, faculty and programs within the school, which is part of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

In honor of Korff’s generosity, the school will be named the Glenn Korff School of Music, pending approval by the NU Board of Regents.

“We will be proud to link in perpetuity the name of Glenn Korff with our School of Music and the outstanding programs and performances it provides,” UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said.

Each year, 25 percent of the expendable income from the endowed fund will support undergraduate and graduate students within the school through scholarships, fellowships, international engagement activities and grants for opportunities to hone their skills. Another 25 percent will support the school’s faculty through awards to support teaching initiatives, scholarly research, creative activities, professional travel and more while also creating the Glenn Korff Endowed Chair, the recipient of which will be selected based on national and international accomplishments.

The remaining 50 percent of the fund’s annual support will be directed to the school’s academic and program activities, which may include support for concerts, recitals, tours, competitions, academic conferences and more.

“I am grateful to be able to make this gift to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music,” Korff said. “I feel it will be beneficial for musical presentations, dance and the performing arts, including the ‘Pride of All Nebraska,’ the Cornhusker Marching Band. I am honored to be able to make this contribution in order to provide future programs that will enlighten and entertain families and generations of Nebraskans for years to come.”

In announcing the gift on Aug. 20 to faculty, Charles O’Connor, dean of Fine and Performing Arts, said it was a historic moment for the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the School of Music.

“The School of Music has a rich tradition of excellence at this university, and this generous gift from Mr. Korff is an important investment in the school’s future,” O’Connor said. “Our students and faculty perform and compete at the highest levels, and this gift affirms that.

“This will, no doubt, inspire continued excellence from our students and faculty in the School of Music and is the beginning of the next exciting chapter in its proud history. We could not be more thankful and grateful for Mr. Korff’s generosity and commitment to the University of Nebraska.”

John Richmond, director of the School of Music, said the gift will have far reaching impacts on UNL’s music and dance programs.

“I don’t think it’s possible yet to fully comprehend the many ways this extraordinary naming gift will transform our School of Music as a teaching institution, as a cultural catalyst, as a center for research in music and as a place of international synergy for music and dance,” Richmond said. “What I can say with absolute confidence is that the impressive growth and transformation we have enjoyed in the last decade - and it has been considerable and nationally recognized - will pale in comparison to the place of international leadership the Glenn Korff School of Music will occupy in the profession 10 years from now, such is the timeliness and impact of his stunning generosity.”

A native of Hebron, Korff lives in Boulder, Colo., and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1965 with a chemistry major and was a member and former president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. His passion for performing arts began on the university campus as a member of Kosmet Klub, a male musical and comedy ensemble, in which he was a set designer. He received a Master of Business Administration in finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and enjoyed a long career in the area of finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs.

Over the years, Korff expressed gratitude for the education received at the university by giving of his time through various volunteer positions as trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation. He and his family also supported the university through gifts to create the Paul W. and Esther L. Korff Family Fund and the Richard D. Brenning Memorial Scholarship Fund. Korff and his brother, Ken Korff, also made a recent gift to support the College of Business Administration’s new building initiative with a gift to name an auditorium in honor of their father, Paul Korff.

The School of Music dates back to 1894, when Chancellor James Canfield created a private conservatory of music under the direction of Willard Kimball. In 1930, the Board of Regents purchased the University School of Music, and a plan of reorganization was created in 1937 under the direction of Arthur Westbrook. Westbrook Music Building opened in 1966-67 and Kimball Recital Hall opened in 1969.

Today, the School of Music, a charter member of and fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, has an enrollment of more than 430 undergraduate and graduate students with programs in music, music education and dance. The faculty includes an array of internationally acclaimed artists and scholars.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 75 years. For more information, go to http://campaignfornebraska.org.

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