KU Endowment

Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation makes $1M gift to renovate recital hall

Thu, 12/12/2013

LAWRENCE — The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, of Kansas City, Mo., has made a $1 million leadership gift to renovate Swarthout Recital Hall at the University of Kansas. Since 1957, Swarthout has served as the primary recital venue for generations of KU music students. After nearly 60 years of heavy use, the hall needs renovation and technological upgrades.

With this gift in place, a total of $2.3 million has been raised for the project. The KU School of Music and KU Endowment are working with alumni and friends to raise the remaining amount of private funding needed to meet the $2.5 million project budget.

“The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation is pleased to take the lead in supporting the renovation of the University of Kansas School of Music’s Swarthout Recital Hall. Swarthout represents a time-honored tradition of excellence for the School of Music and the university. Revitalization and restoration of this wonderful, intimate venue is yet another milestone in the pursuit of nationally and internationally acclaimed distinction,” said Julia Irene Kauffman, chairman and CEO of the foundation. “We are proud to be a catalyst for progress to help drive the School of Music to new heights with this grant and to bring a renewed and regenerated excitement and synergy to the students, faculty and the community.”

Other major gifts were made by Barbara Nordling, of Lawrence; Tom and Judy Bowser, of Olathe; Dave and Gunda Hiebert, of Lawrence, and through the estate of Frances Peterson, who lived in Cedar Hill, Texas.

Planned improvements include renovation of the stage, lighting and acoustics; new seating for the audience; an accessible entryway for ADA seating; and audio/video and telecommunications equipment. The project’s budget includes the purchase of two new Steinway D grand pianos to be used exclusively in the renovated hall.

“We are honored that the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation has chosen to partner with us in this ongoing cause by so generously supporting a reconceived recital hall on the university campus, providing future generations of students the ability to pursue their dreams of a life centered in music,” said School of Music Dean Robert Walzel. “KU has a long history of commitment to music education and service within the arts community.”

Walzel said he hopes to have funding in place soon so that construction can begin at the end of the spring semester.

Swarthout Recital Hall, which seats 350 people, is located in Murphy Hall. It was named for Donald Swarthout, who served as KU’s dean of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1950. Nationally known for his work, Swarthout also served as president of the Music Teachers National Association and directed the KU Concert and Chamber Series, which became the foundation of the arts programming for the Lied Center of Kansas.

The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Get outside & #exploreKU like these KU students who are making the most of the beautiful day. (Image via @Jhawk96 .)
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (, will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times