Many Georgia Tech friends and alumni have been key supporters of Tech’s School of Music, a fast-growing and highly innovative program.
Its students engage in groundbreaking research as well as enriching performances. And plans are underway for an experimental multimedia space that will be “a testbed for charting music’s future,” says School Chair Jason Freeman.
With over 100 students per year pursuing undergraduate and advanced degrees in music technology, the School generates approximately 40 concerts per year, drawing participants from across campus. The donors making a difference to the School likewise come from varied backgrounds.
The late Robert “Bob” Gibeling Jr., BMGT 1972, was a passionate supporter of music, as were his parents, Robert W. Gibeling, ARCH 1941, and Naomi Gibeling. Bob sang in Tech’s Glee Club and his church choir throughout his life. The Gibeling family’s endowed support has made an enormous impact on the School, especially its choir program.
“The endowment has helped to grow our choir programs at Georgia Tech,” Freeman says, “and to create an inclusive, welcoming community for all of our student musicians and music technology students.”
The late Richard Guthman, IE 1956, wanted to honor his wife, Margaret Guthman, a pianist, while supporting music at Tech. And what began in 1996 as a piano competition evolved into the annual Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition, attracting musicians from around the world to showcase new ideas about instrument design and engineering. According to Margaret, it represents “what Georgia Tech does best — innovation.”
It was that technological innovation that inspired Robert Gaudio to support the School. “Technology has become the great equalizer,” he said, “and allows creative people another form of expressing music even if they’re not proficient in any particular instrument.”
The keyboard player for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Gaudio is a singer and songwriter who penned favorites including “Sherry” and “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).” Gaudio has collaborated with artists such as Barry Manilow, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, and Roberta Flack and played a pivotal role in producing Jersey Boys.
Now, he is having an impact on Tech’s School of Music through student scholarships.
Longtime friends of the School, Col. Stephen C. Hall, IM 1967, and his wife, Pamela Hall, increased their support by adding to the Pamela M. and Stephen C. Hall Scholarship Fund in honor of Jerry Ulrich, as well as funding a scholarship to honor Gaudio. He also was moved to contribute. “I was truly honored and inspired to increase the support for another student,” said Gaudio.
The generous philanthropy of these donors is helping Tech’s School of Music thrive and build community. “Music,” says Freeman, “is a way for us to explore our own humanity and build deep connections with others.”