Conservatory receives record $2.2 million in donations for 2019-20 academic year

One of the generous gifts received in 2019-20 allowed the Conservatory to purchase more than 400 instruments which will improve Pacific music students experience for decades to come.

One of the generous gifts received in 2019-20 allowed the Conservatory to purchase more than 400 instruments which will improve Pacific music students experience for decades to come.

The 2019-20 academic year was tough for many reasons, yet University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music has reasons to celebrate. In 2019-20, the Conservatory received a record-breaking $2.2 million in charitable gifts, 90 percent of which are dedicated to student access and success.

The generosity of Pacific alumni and friends poured in through several channels, including scholarship endowments, programmatic funds and gifts made available for new conservatory initiatives.

Alumnus Norm Chapman ’46 brought in an absolutely transformational gift. A professional flautist, Mr. Chapman provided much-needed funding to purchase artist-level brass, percussion, string and woodwind instruments for student use. More than 400 instruments, bows, cases and pieces of performance equipment began arriving in the spring of 2020. Several were immediately distributed to students at home so they could aid in learning during remote classes this fall.

“Norm Chapman knew the difference a great instrument makes. His own vintage Powell flute was part of the recent gift. These investment in superb instruments will advance Pacific students’ education in lessons, recitals and in ensembles for decades,” stated Conservatory of Music Dean Peter Witte.

187 families provided gifts to the Conservatory in 2019-20, among them an estate gift from Colleen Bare, made in memory of her son and conservatory alumnus Randall Behr ’75, the celebrated opera conductor and educator. A portion of the gift was designated for technology scholarships for this fall. These one-time scholarships will be awarded to all qualified conservatory students to assist with the purchase of music-related technology required in online settings.

“We know there are new investments our students and their families need to make in order to be prepared to learn music in online settings,” said Dean Witte. “We are deeply grateful to the Bare/Behr family for their commitment to the Conservatory. Already, their marvelous gift is helping our students.” 

The majority of the Bare/Behr gift will sustain the Randall Behr Scholarship Fund and provide annual awards to support conservatory students at Pacific.

In the past year, donors also helped establish scholarships and programmatic funds, which included: a scholarship for music students who are from San Joaquin County and a scholarship for voice students; an endowment to support the opera program; and an endowment providing emergency funds for students who otherwise might not be able to continue their studies due to a personal or family change in financial circumstances.

“The Conservatory is grateful to the hundreds of individuals and families who chose to invest in our future. Through their gifts, these generous donors make it possible for Pacific to recruit and educate the diverse, inclusive and visionary musicians, therapists and educators for which Pacific is nationally revered,” said Dean Witte.

Those donations will count toward Leading with Purpose: The Campaign for University of the Pacific, the university’s historic fundraising campaign to advance academic programs of excellence and relevance, enhance student scholarships and improve facilities. The campaign is almost 90 percent of the way toward reaching its $300 million goal by 2022.