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Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2019

Retiring Music Professor Honored with Scholarship Endowment

Dr. Thomas Jenrette
Dr. Thomas Jenrette

May 07, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, TN When Dr. Thomas Jenrette retires, he will leave a legacy of thousands of East Tennessee State University alumni and students who have benefited from his teaching and direction. Now, a new scholarship endowment established in his honor will ensure that future music students will benefit, as well.

During a tribute concert to Jenrette on Saturday, April 28, 2012, ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland surprised the longtime director of choral activities by announcing a $2 million scholarship endowment given by Jim and Sandy Powell, longtime supporters of ETSU and the Department of Music. This endowment will provide approximately $80,000 annually in scholarships beginning this fall.

"The Powells' wonderful and generous gift will forever associate the name of Tom Jenrette with music at East Tennessee State University, allowing us to build upon Tom's remarkable career as a teacher and mentor," Noland said. "On behalf of the current and future students who will benefit from this endowment, and on behalf of a very grateful university, I thank Sandy and Jim for their loyalty to ETSU and for their devotion to our Department of Music and to a beloved professor who will never be forgotten."

In a letter read prior to the announcement by ETSU Department of Music Chair Dr. Frank Grzych, the Powells wrote: "Our three-decade association with you (Jenrette) has been one of the highlights of our lives. Through your talents, gifts, insistence on perfection, and never-ending hard work, you have brought joy to thousands of people over the years . . . . You have brought untold numbers of students to ETSU. Those students have remained loyal to you and to ETSU, and now some of them are telling their grandchildren about the great Tom Jenrette. We want to do our part to make sure your legacy at ETSU will endure forever."

Jenrette's retirement comes after 33 years as director of choral activities and professor of music in the ETSU Department of Music. Under his direction, ETSU choral ensembles have performed for numerous American Choral Directors Association conventions and Music Educators National Conferences, as well as two Intercollegiate Men's Choruses national conventions. They have also appeared twice at the White House and have taken concert tours throughout the eastern United States, Europe, Venezuela and the Caribbean, performing at such places as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican and the Berlin Cathedral in Germany.

"Dr. Jenrette is a cornerstone of the university and the Music Department," Grzych said. "He has elevated this program with his guidance, his nurturing, and his standards of excellence. His students have performed in concerts across Europe and before the most critical audiences in the profession, all with the highest acclaim. What he has done for ETSU and his students is phenomenal."

Following the announcement, Jenrette said, "What a blessing Jim and Sandy Powell have been to my life. I love them both so much. They have made so many things possible that would have never happened otherwise: all the trips to Europe, the scholarships that have enabled many of these students to be here who would have never been here. And now tonight is more than I can believe. My heart is so full, I think it's going to burst."

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