$5 million endowment to serve music students

The Weber State University music department has received a donation of $5 million from alumni Sid and Mary Foulger, whose names now grace the department title.

The Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music looks to establish an endowment to serve generations of music students to come. For those students who might not know what an endowment is, here is a crash course: A donation or grant is a sum of money given to a school or department to be used judiciously until it is gone. Most fundraisers raise funds to this end. An endowment is a little different. It’s something of a super donation. In this case, $5 million was donated to the Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music to be put in a savings account and not touched. At the end of the year, the interest serves as the donation, leaving the $5 million to sit and have an encore performance for the next year.

So how much money is in the interest?

“Between 20 and 40,000, depending on the market and the year,” said Thomas Priest, chair of the department of performing arts.

Priest, a long-standing member of the music faculty, said he is determined for this donation to reach its full potential.

“You don’t ever spend the principal; you let it grow,” Priest said. “That was part of the agreement.”

This approach will allow the Foulgers’ gift to be the gift that keeps on giving. As for how the money will be used, Priest said, “We have two ideas. One is for scholarships, that’s definitely a priority. The other is for new equipment for the department, but music students are the first priority.”

This comes with a warm reception from music student Victor Pezzola, double bass player in the WSU Chamber Orchestra.

“I like it,” Pezzola said. “I hope it helps us modernize things a bit.”

Emma Mauchley, a senior choral education student, said she is ecstatic about the support from the Foulgers.

“This gives the students a chance to expand their talents and show that we appreciate such a tremendous gift,” Mauchley said. “It also speaks volumes of just how good Weber’s music department is. The professors are top-notch and contribute so much to their students, the university, and to the art community. It also lets everyone know that it’s not ‘just Weber’; it’s WEBER STATE, man!”

Although they share enthusiasm, Pezzola and Mauchley have differing ideas about how the money should be used.

“We need to buy more electronic tools that could help the students,” Pezzola said. “I think all schools that start doing this will create more state- and nationwide attention about accomplishments, thus causing  more curiosity for this program. Through alumni and current students, the word will spread and more kids will want to be a Wildcat.”

Mauchley said she hopes for a push toward a graduate program. One thing many students can agree on is funding scholarships, which, as Priest said, will be the first priority. A celebration of the donation and the new school of music will be held on Sept. 14, and Sid Foulger himself will be in attendance.

Students are welcome to attend and come celebrate by listening to the Ravel Piano Concerto, played by one of WSU’s own music students.