A $1.5 million gift from Susan and Aron Ain aims to honor, attract and retain exemplary faculty at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. It establishes a newly endowed violin professorship.
“Endowed professorships provide us with essential resources to support world-class faculty and recognize them for their exceptional accomplishments as artists, scholars, and teachers,” says Jamal Rossi, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “We are tremendously grateful to the Ains for their commitment to music, education, and excellence.”
An Eastman alumnus, Susan Ain studied with Millard Taylor, who also was concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Susan Ain performed in the Eastman Philharmonia under the direction of David Effron, the head of the school’s orchestra program from 1977 to 1998.
Since receiving her degree in violin performance in 1978, Susan Ain earned a master of musical arts degree from Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College and later a master of arts degree in Jewish studies from Hebrew College. She made a career in music education and supports various organizations centered around music, Jewish life, higher education, and medicine.
“As an Eastman alumna, I know how important professors are,” she says. “Students want to learn from and be inspired by the best and often attend a music school because of the quality of their instructors. We created this professorship as a way to support the future of classical music, ensure outstanding instruction, and develop the potential of young artists. Making this gift during Eastman’s Centennial is also our way of celebrating the school’s place in history.”
With an eye to the future, the Eastman Centennial campaign marks 100 years of the school of music. The campaign has raised more than $55 million so far, created over 40 new scholarships and new work commissions have topped 50.
Susan Ain and her husband, Aron, an author, software technology expert, and executive chair of UKG, were presented with Eastman’s Centennial Award last fall. The award recognizes the couple’s commitment to artistry, scholarship, leadership, community engagement, and philanthropy, officials say. The Ains have been members of the George Eastman Circle, the university’s annual leadership giving society, since 2012.
“Music and education have been so important to our family,” says Aron Ain. “This gift celebrates our appreciation for both and, we hope, makes a difference in the training and education of the next generation of talented performers and music leaders.”
Separately, UR appointed an interim director of the Memorial Art Gallery. Michael Marsh, chief operating officer and deputy director, will assume leadership of the gallery. He steps in for Jonathan Binstock, MAG’s seventh director, who took a position with the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. Marsh, who brings experience in the public and private sectors, will serve as interim director in addition to his role as COO until a new director is named. UR is expected to launch a national search this year.