Westminster Receives Gift for New Endowed Chair in Arts Education
Sorenson Legacy Foundation donates $3 million for Chair, fellowships, outreach and training
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College has received a $3 million gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation which will allow the institution to significantly expand its art and art education program in three ways: 1) establish a new endowed chair in arts education, 2) expand the college’s arts and teaching curriculum, and 3) fund a multi-layered creative arts education program to develop the skills of those who teach art, music, dance, theater and visual arts to elementary school students. Additionally, the gift will fund enhanced training and certification for Montessori education.
“This substantial gift is the cornerstone of our plans to expand the role of the arts on our campus and throughout the state,” explained Dr. Michael Bassis, president of Westminster College. “Beverley Sorenson’s commitment to the arts and art education has already shaped Utah’s cultural landscape, and this gift from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation will allow her ideas to flourish at Westminster and to enrich the lives of countless people for decades to come.”
The new program includes funding for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair in Arts Education. The professor who holds this position will continue to develop the creative arts program and look progressively at the future of arts education at Westminster and in Utah. The distinguished faculty member will oversee the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Program for Creative Arts Education at Westminster College, which includes a new creative arts education minor for undergraduate degrees and a new creative arts emphasis for the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree.
“I know that the first step to making sure our children get the arts-rich educations they deserve is to properly train the educators that will teach them,” said philanthropist and arts education advocate Beverley Taylor Sorenson. “Westminster College has a wonderful reputation of producing smart and capable graduates, and I am thrilled that this gift will help them achieve their creative arts goals. I look forward to working closely with the new endowed chair on ways to best shape the future of arts education in Utah.”
The gift will also create endowed fellowships for creative arts MAT students, an endowed outreach program for teachers and artists, and development of a Montessori teacher-training program. The programs will begin in 2012-13.
“This gift enables Westminster to continue dynamic programs in arts education that attract experienced artists who wish to earn a teaching license with an emphasis in creative arts, and experienced teachers wishing to specialize in arts education,” said Dr. Bob Shaw, dean of Westminster’s School of Education. “This generous gift will impact the lives and educations of untold generations of students through innovative, arts-based teacher training methodology for both traditional and Montessori schools.”
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation gift will also enable Westminster to become a partner in the consortium of colleges and universities supporting the Utah state-funded Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program in elementary schools.
Westminster is currently seeking an innovative leader in arts education to fill the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair in Arts Education that will expand and enrich the role of the arts in Westminster’s unique environment for learning.
Media Contacts: Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von (801) 832-2682
Feb. 14, 2012
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter.