By: Devin Witte, Staff Writer
“A place for the worthy student body and faculty; for whom music is a passion,” said Suzi Osher, in regards to her motivation in giving the University of Southern Maine $10 million to be directed to a new home for the School of Music. Osher’s donation is USM’s largest monetary gift to date and is the result of an excellent partnership with the USM Foundation and USM Leadership.
Regarding donations, all stakeholders including USM President Cummings, the USM Foundation, Dean Tuchinsky, and the Director of The School of Music Alan Kaschub are all in frequent conversations.
“No amount of preparation can temper the excitement though!” said Kaschub.
USM President, Glenn Cummings, shared that USM and the Osher’s have a “long-established and illustrious relationship.” Cummings also pointed out their past contributions to two of the University’s establishments: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Osher Map Library. Furthermore, Osher’s generosity permeates into various scholarships and campaigns.
Osher’s donation, accompanied by the Crewe Foundation’s $5 million benevolence, will help give the opportunity to further educate musicians to come. As Director Kaschub states; “This gift will help to make real the promise of a Center for the Arts on the Portland campus that will be the new home of the Osher School of Music. This facility will be purpose-built for the demands of music teaching and learning. This includes the latest in technology and acoustics while being a beautiful building that is sure to inspire the creative work that will take place there.”
According to the recent Portland Press Herald article, the combined donation is hoped to pay for half or more of the total cost of development. The building is set to reside near Bedford Street and Deering Avenue, on the Portland campus. Depending on Trustee support, construction could begin as early as 2023.
The plan for the new home for the School of Music is a single-story building, consisting of a performance hall, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, soundproof studios, a visual arts gallery, and the Kate Cheney Chappell Center for Book Arts.
Osher’s driving force in giving this gift to the university was to honor her late husband, Dr. Alfred Osher.
“I know my late husband Alfred would be proud to have his name attached to such an outstanding program at the University,” said Osher.
“We have a hidden gem in our School of Music and with this historic gift, it won’t be hidden much longer,” said Cummings.