Columbus State Hires new Director of Schwob School of Music

COLUMBUS, Ga. — E. Scott Harris, director of the school of music at the University of Southern Maine, has been selected as the new leader of Columbus State University’s nationally respected Schwob School of Music.

Harris, who has been at the University of Southern Maine in Portland since 1992, was founding director of the music school when it was formed in 2002. He has also taught at Ithaca College and Indiana University, where he earned all three of his degrees.

"We are very excited to be able to announce Dr. Harris’ appointment to direct the Schwob school," said College of the Arts Dean Richard Baxter. "He has the right mix of academic credentials, leadership experience, outreach knowledge and personality to realize the faculty’s vision of taking our music school to another level of excellence and prominence."

Harris will start work in the Saunders Center for Music Studies on July 1, taking over from Rex Whiddon, the founding director of the Schwob School, who returned downtown earlier this year to serve as interim director while a national search was finalized.

"I'm excited about the future of the Schwob School of Music under Dr. Harris' leadership and look forward to working with him to achieve our mutual vision for a school that is recognized internationally as one of the leading centers for music study," Whiddon said.

Harris earned his bachelor’s degree in composition, his master’s in music theory and his doctorate in music theory, with minors in cello, composition and computer science. In addition to his scholarly duties, teaching and advising and fund-raising, Harris said a priority for him has been community engagement, including work with youth ensembles, the local Boys and Girls Clubs, and community outreach performances.

He said his visit to Columbus confirmed what he had heard about CSU’s Schwob School of Music and what’s been accomplished here.

"I can't wait to meet all the students, faculty, staff, alumni, patrons, and donors there," he said. "I’m looking forward to learning more about the community's embrace of this special place and to working with campus leaders as we develop the Schwob school so that it continues to be a national model of what the best training for musicians looks like in the context of a comprehensive university."

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For more information, contact Richard L. Baxter, dean of the College of the Arts, at 706-507-8043 or by email at

Photo: E. Scott Harris (higher-resolution original)