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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

$1 Million Gift Creates UC Irvine's First Endowed Chair In School Of The Arts

Marjorie Rawlins Continues Extraordinary Support of Music Department

Irvine, Calif., November 14, 1996

Continuing a history of extraordinary support to UCI, philanthropist Marjorie Rawlins of Newport Beach has donated $1 million to establish the first endowed chair in the School of the Arts.

Rawlins' gift will establish The Robert and Marjorie Rawlins Chair in the Department of Music, named after the donor and her late husband, an engineer and venture capitalist.

"Through Marjorie Rawlins' incredible generosity and passion for music, a new world of learning and performance opportunities will soon exist for UCI music students," said School of the Arts Dean Jill Beck. "Her gift will enable us to raise the standards of our music program to the comprehensive and superior."

Beck said Rawlins' gift was especially exciting because it will be used to create the first endowed chair in UCI's School of the Arts. "Endowed chairs are powerful magnets for attracting top-notch faculty, and they are symbolic of the quality of the faculty and programs already in place," Beck said.

Annual interest earnings from the endowment will provide discretionary funds for the chair to use for new and enhanced programs in the music department. The endowment will usher in an exciting spectrum of new opportunities for students, Beck said, including:

  • Guest professional conductors who will work with the UCI Symphony Orchestra.
  • Opportunities for students to be mentored by master vocal coaches, musicians and composers.
  • A national student recruitment program that will complement the music department's existing scholarship program.
  • Opportunities for students to attend events such as the renowned Aspen Music Festival. Beck said such opportunities will enhance student recruitment efforts while offering existing students invaluable experiences.
  • Guest appearances by internationally known musicians and musical groups.
  • New opportunities for the school's various departments, such as drama and music, to collaborate on projects that benefit students while increasing the sophistication of public performances at UCI. For example, Beck said, music department students may study the works of Stravinsky at the same time dance department students are studying Balanchine. Ultimately, they would combine what they learn into multi-disciplinary performances that would attract new students and audiences to UCI.

Rawlins' generous donation was the second in as many years. In 1995, she donated $1 million to support undergraduate scholarships in piano, violin, viola and cello.

"I feel very fortunate to be able to help UCI students discover the timeless grace of beautiful music," said Rawlins, whose love of music was instilled by her parents, who both played musical instruments. "By creating this endowed chair, my intent was to enrich students' education by ensuring them access to the finest resources available."

Rawlins' support of UCI's music programs began more than a decade ago when she and her husband attended a New York String Quartet performance on campus. Since then, she has regularly attended UCI concerts and supported annual scholarships, recitals and master classes. Rawlins has hosted events in support of the Department of Music, and on occasion has loaned her home for student and faculty recitals.


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