Largest Cash Gift in WCU History Endows School of Music

WCU Music
Image via West Chester University.

A transformational gift of $3 million from Dr. James R. Wells and Mr. Richard G. Wells, brothers who are West Chester University alumni, will benefit the students and faculty of WCU’s School of Music in perpetuity.

An endowment will fund scholarships, graduate assistantship programs, travel for music ensembles, state-of-the-art marching band equipment, and music education programming.

The gift is the largest cash gift received in the history of West Chester University.

The formal announcement of the Wells School of Music will be made on Thursday, Sept. 27 during a performance of the Wind Ensemble & Wind Symphony at 8:15 PM in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall. The Wells family will be in attendance. The concert is open to the public free of charge as a tribute to the Wells brothers who, in 1982, established Festivals of Music, a school band clinic/conference, as well as World Travel, Inc. in 1983 to facilitate travel to these national and international festivals.

The brothers and their wives, Joanne M. (Noble) Wells and Elizabeth J. (Noble) Wells, longtime educators who also happen to be sisters and WCU alumnae, are deeply committed to providing innovative pathways to support performance opportunities for school music programs and the many students who benefit from the professional and personal enrichment that music brings to their lives.

“Foremost humanitarians have emphasized the importance of music to human culture,” said James. “To promote music and music education, West Chester University School of Music must continue to attract the most talented candidates, offer much-needed scholarships, and secure national recognition as a preeminent music education school. It is our intent to foster these ideals and strengthen the school as a fertile training ground for the persevering musicians of today and tomorrow.”

James’s dedication to the school is in concert with Richard’s philosophy on life.

“Human engineering is creating minds through education to develop and understand the values of life, and to have a lifestyle filled with family, friends, happiness, and, of course, music,” Richard said.

In many respects, the Golden Rams Marching Band is just one in a long line of musical legacies left at WCU by the talented brothers. The band has been featured during the Phillies’ World Series appearances, and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Golden Rams Marching Band performs regularly at Bands of America Regional and National Events. As a competitive force, the Golden Rams have performed in exhibition at the 2013 Atlanta Regional, the 2012 Pittsburgh Regional, and the 2009 Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis.

“We are overwhelmed with the generosity of this gift,” said WCU president Christopher Fiorentino. “James and Richard are both pioneers in the field of music, and we are quite fortunate to have them as alumni, as well as role models to all of our students. Their willingness to make a significant difference in students’ lives is testament to their character, generosity, and ability to inspire an entire generation of future musicians.”

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