Music was a mainstay for Ruth B. Filip during her 38-year tenure as a faculty member in the School of Business and long into her retirement. She had a small Steinway piano in her home and played it daily for herself and occasionally for others. She attended the inaugural concert performance at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in 1955, and was a familiar presence at classical music performances on campus throughout her life.
Her presence will continue to be felt through her bequest of $1.2 million to the School of Fine Arts – its largest individual gift ever – to establish three endowed funds for the school: one for scholarship support, one for performances, and one for support of major objectives identified by the dean.
“This gift will really help the school move forward,” says David Woods, who served as dean of the School of Fine Arts for 12 years and developed a friendship with Filip over their shared love of music and performances. “This will help recruit students and build ensembles and orchestras. I’m so pleased that Dean Brid Grant will have the resources provided by this gift.”
Janet Jones worked with Filip in the School of Business and in her support of the arts at UConn. “Ruth loved the performances. She liked to sit close to the front so she could watch the musicians’ hands,” Jones says. “She was so appreciative of the contribution the arts made to her life.”
One of the first decisions made by Grant as dean upon her arrival last year was to use some of the bequest’s discretionary fund to help support UConn’s internship program with the Metropolitan Opera. That program, which began in 2004, provides an opportunity for a student from the School of Fine Arts to spend a semester working at the Met, and it brings a dozen students to the Met four times a year for rehearsals, performances, lectures, master classes, and conversations with music professionals about career opportunities.
“Private support allows us to bridge what our students learn in the classroom with the art world beyond our campus,” Grant says. “Ruth Filip’s gift will have a tremendous impact on our ability to highlight our students’ creative abilities, and help us create a wider audience for their many exhibitions and performances.”