Church Street facility to be renovated for classrooms, practice areas, more
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – At Wofford College, where pre-med, pre-law and business majors abound, students interested in a well-rounded liberal arts education that includes music can find a home. As a matter of fact, nearly half of Wofford’s 1,450 students take advantage of the college’s expanding and ever-improving music education and performance opportunities.
Now, thanks to a gift from Walter and Betty Montgomery, Rose Montgomery Johnston and their families the Wofford music program will have a home of its own – in the former Baptist Collegiate Ministry building.
The Montgomery family is providing substantial funding to renovate the building, to be called the Montgomery Family Music Center. It is located on North Church Street next to Ben Wofford Books, the campus bookstore.
“The Montgomery family is pleased to support this outstanding liberal arts college and its music program,” Walter Montgomery said on behalf of the family.
The building will provide rehearsal space and classrooms for singers, musicians and faculty in the department of music and will greatly enhance the music program at Wofford. Of a student body of 1,450, almost 700 students take advantage of music education and performance opportunities.
“Any Wofford student will tell you that, from Pythagoras to P. Diddy, the world has agreed that no civilization is complete without music — so why should anyone suppose a great liberal arts college to be complete without a music building?” President Benjamin B. Dunlap says. “And yet, hard though it is to believe, prior to Betty and Walter Montgomery’s wonderful gift, Wofford had no such dedicated facility. Now it will, and every Wofford student, present and future, has cause to thank them.
“Betty and Walter Montgomery have long been major benefactors for this community, most especially in the arts. We are honored to have their name forever a part of Wofford.”
The Montgomery family has a long history as generous contributors to the quality of life in the region. Walter Montgomery Sr. was the founding benefactor of the Spartanburg County Foundation and was instrumental in the formation of dozens of charitable organizations in the area. Betty and Walter Montgomery Jr. have served as directors of the Spartanburg County Foundation and have been involved in a myriad of charitable and civic interests, most notably Converse College; Christ School in Arden, N.C.; the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg; the Noble Trees Foundation, and the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Spartanburg. Mrs. Montgomery is a member of the President’s Advisory Board at Wofford.
Dr. Rose Montgomery Johnston is a practicing psychologist in Memphis, Tenn. She is a member of the board of trustees of Converse College in Spartanburg. She also is a director of the Memphis College of Arts and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. She is a member of the vestry of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis. She is a past director of The Episcopal Church Foundation in New York City. She is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the University of Memphis.
Wofford has been a major beneficiary of the Montgomery family’s generosity with the establishment of endowed scholarships and participating in every major campaign at the college over the past several decades. Their imprint can be found in almost every corner of campus, including the Montgomery Room faculty and staff dining hall in the Burwell Building.
The Wofford College music program has ample opportunities for students to participate in vocal and instrumental ensembles, musical theatre, music history and theory classes. While the college has no music major, students from many departments participate in a variety of musical activities. Most music classes and performing ensembles offer college credits that satisfy Wofford’s fine arts requirements. Limited music scholarships are available for choral, strings and band students.
In addition to numerous pianos, band and orchestral instruments throughout the campus, Leonard Auditorium in Wofford’s Main Building houses a Bosendorfer grand piano and the William Preston Few Organ, a Holtkamp organ.Music instructor Christi Sellars launched Wofford STARTS – “students in the arts” – in 2003. The program brings students from Spartanburg’s Boys and Girls Clubs to campus once a month, where they are taught about visual art, music and theater by Wofford students. Gary McCraw is associate professor of music and director of the music program.
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