Endowment Boosts Keyboard Studies at CSU’s Schwob School of Music

[caption id="attachment_3089" align="alignright" width="300"]Jack and JoRhee Pezold Jack and JoRhee Pezold[/caption]

COLUMBUS, Ga. — One of the largest gifts in Columbus State University history will fund the newly named Jack and JoRhee Pezold Division of Keyboard Studies in CSU’s Schwob School of Music.

“The Pezolds’ generosity is indicative of the amazing support the Schwob school has received from the community since its establishment in 1969,” said Rex Whiddon, director of development for CSU’s College of the Arts. “Vying for a top tier music program of international distinction in a hyper-competitive marketplace requires substantial funding. This gift is transformational and will help ensure the Schwob School of Music will continue to thrive and compete successfully in the top echelon of music schools worldwide.”

The endowment from the Columbus couple will fund student scholarships, graduate assistantships and other special programs and initiatives that aim to enhance the piano and organ areas of the Schwob school.

Alexander Kobrin, CSU’s L. Rexford Whiddon Distinguished Chair in Piano, said the Pezold endowment will be invaluable in allowing CSU students to focus on developing their full potential.

“Even in Russian, my native language, I cannot find the words to describe how fortunate students are to be able to study at CSU,” Kobrin said. “Thanks to this gift, they can concentrate on their studies at an age they really need to learn.”

The gift will also fund travel for CSU keyboard students to participate in international competitions and festivals. Two of Kobrin’s graduate students were invited last year to audition for the prestigious 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which Kobrin won in 2005.

“We’re just so fortunate to have someone of Alex’s reputation and stature, along with Rex Whiddon’s dedication to the arts,” JoRhee Pezold said. “Jack and I have been very impressed with the program they have developed and their vision for the future of the Schwob School of Music.”

Of the gift, she said, “We believe we have an opportunity and responsibility to help develop the talent of those students who would not, otherwise, have the resources to

fully achieve their God-given musical potential. As God has blessed us, it is our desire to bless talented students from this region and beyond.”

Jack Pezold, whose family’s Pezold Management Co. operates 22 Columbus-area McDonald’s and oversees a wide range of other investments, said the keyboard division gift “evolved” from their sponsorship of Gusto!, an annual benefit the Schwob School of Music presented at the National Infantry Museum last year. Their sponsorship included establishment of a new piano scholarship in JoRhee’s name.

“Often, Alex has told us, some of the most talented students from around the world don’t have the money to come here to study,” Pezold said. “Hopefully, this gift will offer advantages to those students — and Columbus State.”

CSU President Tim Mescon, praised the Pezold endowment for its value in enhancing the benefits of studying piano and organ at the Schwob school, thus continuing to attract some of the world’s most gifted musicians.

“The level of talent is amazing,” he said. “We’re able to offer concerts by world-class performers to the community on a regular basis — usually for free.  This has been a critical element of Columbus State University’s commitment to the greater Columbus community.”

The Pezold endowment will count toward the university’s comprehensive campaign, which is still in a “silent phase” as priorities are developed, goals are established and future contributors are identified.

CSU’s Schwob School of Music and College of the Arts will stage a free concert celebrating the gift at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14 at the RiverCenter’s Legacy Hall. The concert will feature award-winning keyboard students, professor Kobrin and Joseph Golden, professor and university organist. A reception will follow in the RiverCenter lobby.

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