Music renamed for Bienen

Nathalie Tadena

Three months after Henry Bienen delivered on a promise to bring the School of Music a new building, Northwestern’s Board of Trustees recognized his efforts throughout his tenure as president by giving the school a new name.

Starting next fall, the school of 410 undergraduate and 200 graduate students will be called the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music in honor of the university president and his wife, a School of Law lecturer. The name change will accompany a capital campaign funded by trustees and private donors to help secure additional professorships, scholarships and other programs.

The Bienens, along with Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery and Board of Trustees chairman Patrick Ryan, held a banner emblazoned with the school’s new name during a Tuesday ceremony outside Lutkin Hall. They also received the first “Bienen School of Music” T-shirts.

“This was not something we ever expected,” Henry Bienen said. “We are very happy and honored that Ryan and the board of trustees chose to do this. We hope it will be beneficial to the School of Music and that the new endowment will help the school grow and flourish for years to come.”

“At other universities, the arts is often considered an afterthought, but at NU it is on par with the sciences, humanities and business school,” Montgomery said.

The Bienens are “tremendous supporters” of the School of Music and regularly attend performances by students and faculty, Montgomery said. In February, Bienen and Montgomery announced plans to construct a new $90 million building to be completed by 2012 to house the School of Music.

“The naming is an investment in our school, providing new resources for our school and providing a strong foundation for the future,” Montgomery said. “The combination of this new endowment and new building really poises the Bienen School of Music as one of the premier institutions in the country.”

Fundraising for the school’s new endowment is “going extremely well,” Ryan said.

Adding the Bienens’ name to the music school will bring NU “to the same level as other music schools” that have already been named for donors or figures, such as the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, Music freshman Nate Raskin said.

“This is a tribute to Henry Bienen and his leadership of our great university,” Montgomery said. “When we look at the history of NU, we will all say Henry Bienen’s presidency was described as truly transformational.”

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