Thanks to the generosity of longtime university supporter Paul Fritts, owner and founder of Paul Fritts & Co. Organ Builders, the PLU Department of Music is establishing the Paul Fritts Endowed Chair in Organ Studies and Performance. Fritts has pledged $2 million to support and enhance the Department of Music.
“This endowed chair represents a significant commitment to both organ performance and instruction,” Brian Galante, Chair of the Department of Music, said. “This helps us continue to attract incredible faculty who are not only first-rate performers, but also engaging and inspiring teachers. Students—majors and non-majors alike—will have the opportunity to experience the breadth and beauty of the organ repertoire.”
In addition to creating the first endowed chair for the Department of Music, the fund will support programming that uplifts and enhances rich musical traditions at PLU, including organ, choral, orchestral and interdisciplinary music studies. The endowed chair will also prioritize strengthening and building relationships for increased partnership and engagement with the local community and other music organizations.
“The magnificent Gottfired and Mary Fuchs Organ in Lagerquist Concert Hall was built by Paul Fritts and Co. in 1998 and is known nationwide as one of the top university organs in the country,” said Cameron Bennett, Dean of the School of Arts and Communication. “Paul’s incredible and generous gift will ensure that his legacy will impact future PLU students in the years ahead through the creation of this endowed faculty position while also supporting programming that will continue and enhance our rich organ tradition, both at PLU and throughout the region.”
Fritts’s donation will assist in increasing the visibility of PLU’s music program through recruiting; collaborating with choral, orchestral, and interdisciplinary programs at PLU; creating strong connections with churches, schools, and universities; and fostering strong connections to broader professional organ organizations through increased opportunities for hosting national and international events.