The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has received a $6.5 million gift. The money was donated by Mary Wennerstrom, Jacobs associate dean emerita for instruction and her late husband, Leonard Phillips, to fund piano scholarships and the endowment of the directorship with the Cook Music Library.
IU says the library directorship endowment combines a five-year pledge and an estate gift, making it one of the largest estate gifts ever committed by a retired faculty member of the Jacobs School of Music. The gift will contribute to the university’s $2.5 billion campaign and will receive a match from the university.
"Leonard and I both earned Ph.D.’s from the Jacobs School, so we spent a lot of time in the library," said Wennerstrom. "We thought giving to the library would have the most wide-ranging effect on the school since it touches all of the students and underlies the school’s entire foundation, in both performance and academia. Hopefully, the endowment will help ensure that this critical component of Jacobs will thrive well into the future."
Part of the gift will fund the Wennerstrom-Phillips Piano Scholarships. Both Wennerstrom and Phillips began as piano performance students at IU in 1957.
"The music school has really been my whole life," said Wennerstrom. "We always hoped the things about which we cared most deeply, good students and good resources, would get perpetuated. We see it as an important investment in the future and hope to inspire others to do what they can also. Even a modest pledge can make a difference."
Wennerstrom joined the IU Jacobs School of Music faculty in 1964 and retired last December. She retired as associate dean for instruction after 13 years in the position.