Richest school of music gets given another $20 million

Richest school of music gets given another $20 million


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2015

The rich just go on getting richer.

The Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University is generally thought to be the best endowed in America, if not the world. But there’s always competition.

So the Jacobs family, who have already donated $40.6 million, just gave another $20m.

Read how it’s done here.

jacobs school of music indiana


  • Scott Fields says:

    “Indiana University”

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Congrats to Jacobs and their dean for another great endowment gift; but…

    Indiana University Foundation is the 16th richest in the USA among public institutions with about $2B.

    Private universities such as Harvard and Yale have endowments significantly higher.

    It is very difficult to estimate the endowment of the Jacobs School of Music, part of which might be co-mingled with the IU Foundation. My guess is that it’s less than $500M (possibly a generous estimate on my part).

    The Juilliard School endowment is around $1B and in IMMHO is the highest endowment of any independent school of the arts in the world (others should should weigh in if my estimate is exaggerated). I believe that the current chair of the Juilliard board (Bruce Kovner) has given a total to their endowment which is higher than the combined Jacobs gifts. Again, I stand to be corrected by those more wise…

    In any event, let’s salute generosity to the benefit of music performance.

    • william osborne says:

      Harvard’s endowment is $36.4 billion, 18 times higher than IU’s. Yale’s is $23 billion, about 11.5 times higher. The average endowment for both state and private schools in the USA is about $500 million, or 1/72nd the endowment of Harvard. Or 1/46th of Yale’s.

      Private universities are almost entirely forbidden in continental Europe because they are thought to perpetuate immoral class systems (like having an endowment 72 times higher than the average school.) Funding the arts through donations by the wealthy is avoided for similar reasons.

      The average student debt for the class of 2015 in the USA is $35,000. In continental Europe university education is generally free or close to it. Student debt doesn’t exist. In several European countries, the government even gives students below a certain income a monthly stipend to study.

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    PS: This gift is the result of a long process of donor cultivation by the dean emeritus, Charles Webb and the current dean, Gwynn Richards.

    • william osborne says:

      Over the last 30 years we have seen an enormous shift in wealth toward the top 1% in the USA. According to the Center for Disease Control, this has led to a new series of occupational diseases caused by stress positions that have especially affected arts and university administrators. Collectively these illnesses are known as Donor Cultivation Syndrome. The symptoms are a permanently stooped posture and complexion changes in the facial area. Another manifestation of America’s 18th century form of capitalism, it is colloquially it is known as Brown Nose Disease.

      • Bub says:

        William Osborne, [redacted: abuse] I can promise you that Jacobs students like me appreciate his philanthropy. Your responses really have nothing to do with the topic, anyway.

        • william osborne says:

          I have no doubt that Jacobs students “like you” appreciate the gifts and that they are also utterly clueless about the dysfunctionality of America’s system of arts and education funding. The system saddles students with an average of $35,000 of debt and sends them into a society with fewer decent classical music jobs than any other country in the developed world. Ironically, our universities should alleviate parochial and ignorant views such as yours, but our schools are obligated to buy into this archaic, isolated, and highly unjust system. Education becomes, in part, a system of brain washing young Americans to accept social injustice.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    I was a student there in the late 90’s and the always claimed the school had no money. Interesting transformation