School of Music renamed to honor Glenn Korff

· 3 min read

School of Music renamed to honor Glenn Korff

John Bailey and Gretchen Foley sign a bass drum during the Aug. 20 celebration of an $8 million gift by Glenn Korff. The drum was a gift for Korff.
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 was a gift for Korff.

UNL’s School of Music has been renamed the Glenn Korff School of Music in honor of Glenn Korff, who announced in August a gift of $8 million to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the School.

The name change was unanimously approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents at their Sept. 20 meeting.

“The naming of the school in Mr. Korff’s honor elevates the School of Music to a new level and is the beginning of the next exciting chapter in its proud history,” said Charles O’Connor, dean of Fine and Performing Arts. “We thank the Board of Regents for supporting this name change to honor this very generous man and preserve his legacy at the University of Nebraska.”

The gift from Korff, a fourth generation Nebraskan, who died on Aug. 27 shortly after announcing the gift, 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.

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.

“It’s not possible yet to fully comprehend the many ways this extraordinary naming gift will transform our School of Music,” said John W. Richmond, director of the School of Music. “We intend to honor the investment Mr. Korff made in us with a great return in exceptional music, dance, teaching, scholarship and outreach worthy of our namesake and standard bearer.”

A native of Hebron, Neb., Korff lived 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 Nebraska campus as a member of Kosmet Klub, a male musical and comedy ensemble, which he served as a set designer. He went to the University of Pennsylvania to receive an MBA in finance in 1968 and enjoyed a long career in the area of finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs.

The School of Music at UNL 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.

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.

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