Jeanne Sinquefield started giving to the University of Missouri’s music program about a decade ago in an effort to nurture young composers.
On Friday, she and her husband gave the largest single gift to support fine arts in MU history.
University officials announced the $10 million gift from Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield toward construction of a new MU School of Music building. University officials expect work on the building to start in 2016.
“The Sinquefields have found a meaningful way to advance their passion for musical composition and performance, and the university community thanks them for their generosity and for their leadership in supporting the arts at MU and in Missouri,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said in a prepared statement.
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Jeanne Sinquefield, a musician who plays bass with the Columbia Civic Symphony Orchestra and the Folk String Orchestra, said she began giving to support music composition, first to a program on the MU campus for student composers from elementary grades through high school.
Before the gift Friday, the Sinquefields had given more than $13 million for music and other programs at the university. Neither of the Sinquefields, who live in Westphalia near Jefferson City, attended MU, but their three children are MU graduates.
The new gift will kick off efforts to raise about $35 million for the new School of Music building, planned for the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue. Eventually, university officials expect to house the entire School of Music in the building, pulling together classrooms, studios, and rehearsal and office space now scattered across five buildings on campus.
“By giving the school its own facility, we can not only take a large step in positioning MU as a leader in music composition but also help to create opportunities for the school to become a leader in music performance and education as well,” Jeanne Sinquefield said in a telephone interview.
The new music building is a part of a larger project that will include renovation of the Fine Arts Building as a home for MU theater and art departments.
The total project is estimated to cost about $75 million. The university expects some of that funding to come from the state.
MU advancement officials, along with the College of Arts and Science, are now in the initial fundraising phase for the music school building.
Julia Gaines, director of the MU School of Music, said in a prepared statement that the Sinquefield gift, along with the renovations, will raise the university’s stature in music composition and fine arts.
“I can’t even begin to express how exciting this is for the MU music faculty, staff and students,” Gaines said. “We’ve had a glass ceiling over us for many years because of our facility limitations. This gift will allow us to grow in so many ways, and we are more than ready for the opportunity.”