York family supports recital hall

Sat, 2007-05-05 08:17 -- univcomm
May 5, 2007

Anderson University recently announced that longtime benefactors Dr. James and Dr. Elizabeth York will resource the construction of a new recital hall at Anderson University. Preliminary plans call for the construction of a recital hall at a cost of approximately $2 million that accommodates between 150-200 patrons with excellent acoustics and a raised platform. The scope and location of the facility as well as the timeline for construction are to be determined. The project is a part of the "Dreams, Discovery, Direction" campaign for Anderson University.

“The grand traditions of musical talent of Anderson University students and faculty have begged for a facility such as the one being planned for the near future,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “Dr. James and Dr. Elizabeth York have a love for so many of the quality programs of this university, and a much needed recital hall is one more expression of their passion for our work. With their help we are again stepping into a future of such promise for our students and faculty.”

“Both Jim and I grew up in families that loved music,” said Dr. Elizabeth York. “Music-both singing and instrumental-has always been a large part of our life. Over the years, we have heard great symphonies and have experienced church music that has shaped our hearts and developed our appreciation. It is with a deep gratitude that we support of this project.”

Anderson University students who choose music as an academic major or minor at Anderson University must perform a solo recital as part of graduation requirements. Because music is among the university’s top five majors, student recitals are regular events on campus. The 75 music recitals that faculty, students, and guest artists perform in a typical year currently take place in two classrooms that lack permanent seating, a stage, and professional lighting.

The goal of each recital is to showcase the talent of the student artist in a professional setting. The performer, dressed in formal attire, presents a well-rehearsed program for an audience of peers, professors, family, and friends. A reception honoring the student artist usually follows. A well-constructed recital hall is an important recruitment and retention tool.

“All of us in the School of Music are excited about the prospect of a performance venue that will properly showcase the immense talent of our students, faculty and guest artists,” said Dr. Jeffrey Wright, dean of the College of the Arts. “We have waited many years for this to become a reality, and we are delighted that the York family shares our vision for elevating music to new levels of visibility and viability on our campus and in our community. This space will make a tremendous difference in our ability to attract and retain the highest levels of talent for the School of Music.”

“We are so grateful for the commitment and support of the York family,” said Bob Coffman, vice-president for Advancement at Anderson University. “This new facility will provide a world-class environment in which our students and faculty will perform. Through their generosity, Dr. James and Dr. Elizabeth York are making a significant difference in the lives our students.”

In addition to their love for music, the Yorks have a special love for books and have provided generous funding for the creation of a Rare Books and Special Collections area in the Anderson University Nicholson Library. They have already made gifts of many special editions that will be housed in that collection.

Dr. James and Dr. Elizabeth York have given of their time and resources to make a difference in people’s lives. Their giving spirit was what convinced the couple that Dr. James York should retire early from his practice of orthopedic surgery so that they could work in mission hospitals throughout Africa. It also prompted them to contribute to the Harry L. and Henrietta Harp Endowed Memorial Fund at Anderson University. And it is one of the primary reasons they created the James M. York, M.D., and Elizabeth H. York Endowed Scholarship Fund through the Anderson University School of Theology.

Dr. Elizabeth York’s parents, Rev. Harry and Henrietta Harp, were active in the Church of God, and it was in their honor that their children established the Harp Endowed Memorial Fund. The fund supports the Harp Lectures in Christian Theology and Leadership at Anderson University and provides an annual award (known as the Harry L. and Henrietta Harp Memorial Award) to a graduating seminary student who has made the most outstanding accomplishment in congregational ministries. Future plans for the fund include support of a visiting professorship.

Advocates of lifelong learning, the Yorks established the York Endowed Scholarship Fund through the Anderson University School of Theology that is designed to reduce tuition expenses for deserving seminary students and promote a healthy diversity within the seminary community. Recently, the York's supported the current construction on the second phase of York Seminary Village south of Decker Hall. The construction project, consisting of 4 buildings, will be located on the east side of Walnut Street, between 6th and 7th streets, in Anderson. The total project will consist of 20 apartments and a community center in 8 buildings. The first phase of York Seminary Village was dedicated on August 16, 2006.

Dr. Elizabeth York came to Anderson University in 1949. She later married Dr. James M. York, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and they spent the next several years in various locations as Dr. James York completed his orthopedic surgery training. As they traveled, Elizabeth continued her undergraduate studies, graduating from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Dr. James York took early retirement after 32 years of practice and volunteered his surgical skills at mission hospitals throughout Africa. The couple served hospitals in Kenya, Cameroon, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. In all, they served as short term missionaries for six years.

The campaign, set to conclude on May 31, 2010, is the university’s largest fundraising effort to date which marked $57 million raised toward the goal at the time of the launch. Major components of the campaign include $51 million for capital projects, $34 million for endowment and $25 for operational support.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.