Children Honor Mother With $1 Million Music Endowment

Growing things.

Its Sally Foleys passion. Especially the types of things that grow in soil, as evidenced by the 23 acres of English gardens that grace her hillside home overlooking Lake Oliver.

As down to earth as her perennials, Sally confesses she didnt have any background in gardening when she became interested in it while attending a flower arranging course in England 30 years ago. Upon returning, she decided to brighten her home with an English-style garden that she could always get something from.

And thats exactly what Sally Foley did. With the help of renowned garden designer, P. Allen Smith of Little Rock, Ark., the red clay hillside surrounding her home was transformed into a natural paradise. And while she credits Allen with much of the vision as well as bringing it to life Hes the best gardener I know of, she says Allen says the two have become collaborators as Sallys expertise has grown.

As with gardening, Sally didnt know a lot about music when she first became involved with Columbus State Universitys Schwob School of Music.

I always liked music, but never paid much attention to it, she says.

That changed after her niece married internationally acclaimed violinist Robert McDuffie. When my niece married Bobby, I figured I needed to learn more about it, she says. So, I signed up to become a patron of music at the Schwob School of Music. So many wonderful students come here because of the program.

Sally served on the Patrons of Music Steering Committee for several years. In 2001, she made a $500,000 gift that resulted in naming the orchestra rehearsal hall in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts as The Foley Orchestral Rehearsal Hall in honor of Frank and Ethel (Sally) Foley. She also was awarded Honorary Alumna status that same year. In 2003, she was elected an honorary trustee of the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees. Even today, she continues to play a major leadership role in the growth of CSUs Schwob School of Music.

In honor of Sallys dedication to the school, her children, Frank Foley III, Warren Foley and Anne Foley Hughston, established a $1 million endowment in March to support the music director/conductor of the university orchestra. The position will carry the title of The Ethel (Sally) Foley Distinguished Faculty Chair of Orchestral Conducting. The endowment is part of CSUs Investment in People capital campaign that ended Oct. 31 at more than $100 million.

The Foley Chair in Orchestral Conducting will attract an individual who will strengthen and shape the artistic imaginations of our students, while being a leader of cultural life of Columbus, says Larry Kaptain, director of CSUs Schwob School of Music. The beauty of this gift is having the resources to draw a seasoned musician one whose interpretive skills are already honed and acknowledged by leading musicians, informed audiences and skilled artist managers. This person will already have a network in place to assist Schwob students with crucial placements in leading graduate schools and top-tier summer music festivals.

Im thrilled my children decided to do this, says Sally. The Schwob School of Music started small but is now the finest music school in the South and maybe in the country.

Sallys children agree and made the gift to further their mothers interest in CSU and the Schwob School of Music.

Its fabulous to see where the university has come from, says Anne Foley Hughston. Its a really good school. We are so pleased with everything about it. I am so glad that Mom has chosen it as her charity.

Anne credits her brother Frank Foley with initiating the idea of establishing the endowment.

We wanted to do something to honor our mother, says Frank Foley. When this opportunity came along, it seemed right to us.

Frank Foleys younger brother, Warren, recalls his familys long-term interest in classical music and the arts.

We always had it (music) playing in the house, he says. My dad liked to play records. My grandmother was very involved in the arts, especially the Three Arts Theater. My mother has continued that legacy. Theyve tried to make Columbus not only a better city culturally, but a better place for the people who live here.

Remembering her familys involvement with the arts, Sally Foley says that her father was a big believer in giving back to the community.

He was from Phenix City. My mother was from Montgomery, she says. Columbus was their adopted city. They really loved this city.

Evidently, Sally Foley shares their love as she continues to contribute her time, energy, vision and resources to the city of Columbus and the arts. As with her garden, she likes seeing the seeds that she and others plant grow and blossom into something beautiful.