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Eastman School of Music launches public phase of its centennial campaign

Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester.
Emily Hunt for WXXI News
Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester.

The Eastman School of Music has launched the public phase of a $100 million fundraising campaign.

More than half of that amount has already been raised during the quiet phase of the campaign, which is being announced in connection with Eastman’s 100th anniversary that is being celebrated this year.

The public phase of the campaign was announced in an event Thursday night co-hosted by University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf and Eastman School of Music Dean Jamal Rossi.

Rossi said the three priority areas for this campaign include scholarships for students, the recruitment and retention of faculty and support for emerging studies such as film and video scoring and arts leadership.

Rossi said that one of the main objectives of this campaign is to raise money to provide scholarships to students who feel Eastman would be a good fit for their education, but don’t have the money needed to attend.

“And so as much as possible, I would like to be able to take finances out of that question, so that we can make an education affordable (for who has been) accepted and wants to be at Eastman. So that’s the biggest piece of it, is really trying to provide scholarship support to our students for generations to come,” Rossi said.

But Rossi said there’s another area that will be added to Eastman’s goals, driven by the efforts in recent months for diversity, equity and inclusion.

He said that the Eastman School of Music, like a lot of institutions, is trying to do more to bring diversity to the arts, by encouraging people of color to get involved in areas such as composition and performance.

“We’re really trying to tackle this head on, to say, ‘What are we teaching in our classes? How do we diversify that, how do we diversify the music we’re studying, the composers we’re playing and programming?' And so that is very much a part of our future,” Rossi said.

It’s expected the fundraising campaign will wrap up in 2024.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.