With approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, Georgia Southern University has established the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music, making it the newest addition to the Gretsch family.
Naming the university’s school of music comes after Fred and Dinah Gretsch pledged substantial funding to the institution in addition to their Gretsch Collection of historic drums, guitars and company archives. While the school of music will now bear the Gretsch name, the company’s influence will be felt across all campuses and in several academic departments, the museums and the library. Georgia Southern will be able to catalog and display Gretsch’s storied instruments — a collection estimated to be valued in the millions — that tell a story of musical history, from American jazz to English-born rock to modern worship bands in Australia.
Downtown Savannah has already been identified as an exhibit venue for the Gretsch Collection. Georgia Southern is establishing the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music Performance Stage at the Atlantic Building of the new downtown Plant Riverside District. Within that building, exhibit space will highlight Gretsch instruments and storyboards with QR code links to the Gretsch history and legacy. Similar exhibits will be planned at the Georgia Southern Museum in Statesboro, as well as the Fine Arts Hall at the Armstrong Campus, and can be packaged for partner shows around the world.
“The generosity and vision of this transformational gift from Fred and Dinah Gretsch is truly a milestone in Georgia Southern’s history — for the university, for the communities we serve and for our school of music,” said Georgia Southern University president Kyle Marrero. “This collaboration with the Gretsch family, the Gretsch Company and its commitment to excellence exemplifies our goal to elevate and further enhance extraordinary programs, like our music program at Georgia Southern.”
The Gretsches have long been involved in music education programs and lending their name and their history to Georgia Southern was an appropriate way to honor the company’s legacy.
“We are so very enthusiastic about this partnership. Our vision is that Georgia Southern will be recognized as the very best music school in the Southeast,” said Fred Gretsch. “We are impressed with the university’s dedication to transforming lives and communities, and with their eagerness and ability to appropriately catalog our collection. This collaboration allows us to appropriately honor our company’s influence with many of the icons that are dear to us who have shaped the Music Industry.”
With the agreement, Georgia Southern will create the following positions:
- The Distinguished Scholar in Guitar/Music Industry, an assistant professor in the music school’s new music industry program who will also work closely with the museum and library to document, curate and promote the Gretsch Collection.
- The Gretsch Collection Curator of Permanent Collections, a position in the Georgia Southern Museum who will provide all aspects of cataloguing, registration, collection management, maintenance and upkeep duties including activities involving the permanent Gretsch Collection, loans and exhibitions, access to collections for scholarly research, and in support of university classes and day-to-day operations.
- A project archivist for the Gretsch Archival Records, a three-year position in University Libraries who would primarily be responsible for the arrangement and description of the Gretsch archival records, to include print, photographic, audiovisual and digitally born materials.
- Two graduate assistantships in the Department of History for students who will help in organizing, cataloguing, researching, and preserving the Gretsch family’s collections, exhibits, documentation and digitization.
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