Cleveland Orch comes into Quaker millions

Cleveland Orch comes into Quaker millions


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2018

press release:

CLEVELAND, Ohio ― The Cleveland Orchestra has announced that it is receiving a gift of $9.3 million from the estate of Dr. Jean Hower Taber (1922-2017). This extraordinary and generous gift was outlined in Dr. Taber’s written estate plans, and revealed to the Orchestra only after her death. In addition to being a member of the Orchestra’s Heritage Society, she gave generously to the Orchestra’s annual fund every year and attended Cleveland Orchestra concerts regularly over the decades….

“Jean cherished her experiences at Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center over many years,” said Dr. Taber’s brother, James Hower. “The Cleveland Orchestra was a meaningful part of Jean’s life, and she felt the Orchestra was especially important to the Cleveland community – the Orchestra’s exemplary artistry and commitment to education and community resonated strongly with her.”

About Dr. Jean Hower Taber

Dr. Jean Hower Taber was the great granddaughter of John H. Hower, one of the founders of the Quaker Oats Company, originally based in Akron, Ohio. Throughout her life, Dr. Taber was known for her generosity with her time and wealth. In addition to her philanthropy, she spent much of her time volunteering at the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Society of the Blind, and Meals on Wheels. In her youth, she was a research technician at University Hospitals, graduated from the Hathaway Brown School, received a degree from Colby Sawyer Junior College, and, in 2004, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Akron. During her lifetime, she provided the University of Akron with over $7.7 million, supported The Cleveland Orchestra, and served as a Trustee for Life with the Cleveland Natural History Museum.


  • Herr Doktor says:

    I think it’s great that she left so much money to the Cleveland Orchestra, which surely will welcome it.

    But referring to her as *Dr.* Haber? Based on an honorary degree? With her last degree of record from Colby-Sawyer Junior College????


    • Bruce says:

      It’s considered a sign of respect.

      • Dennis says:

        For someone who hadn’t actually earned it, she should (were she alive to see it) be embarrassed by such “respect”.

    • Dennis says:

      It is extremely odd to use the “Dr.” title for an honorary degree issued to a someone who is neither a professor nor a medical doctor.

      The same goes for those who insist on using the “Dr.” honorific for MLK (though in his case he nominally earned it, despite well-documented thesis plagiarism).

    • Tom Gillett says:

      What about Samuel Johnson? Should we no longer refer to Dr. Johnson?

  • Nick says:

    This lady clearly gave many tens of millions if not more to many charitable causes, not just the Cleveland Orchestra. She also donated a great deal of her time. To quibble over a title bestowed by the University of Akron is mean and demeaning. All over the world those awarded Honorary Doctorates by whatever learning institute have the right to – and often do – call themselves “doctor”. This generous lady’s memory should be cherished, not picked over.

    • SVM says:

      You are missing the point. Nobody is disputing or impugning the merit of her honorary doctorate. The point is that an honorary doctorate does not confer the title “Dr” (in the same way that a teaching position at a conservatoire, even if described as “Professor of …”, does not confer the title “Prof.” /ipso facto/, unlike a university professorship[*]). Of course, some honorary doctors also happen to have the title “Dr” by virtue of other credentials (and some conservatoire professors *also* have the title “Prof.” — many of the UK conservatoires are empowered to confer professorships in that more exclusive sense[*]). Sloppiness in the utilisation of titles does a disservice to all, and only exacerbates confusion.

      [*]In UK universities, the job titles of academics are stratified according to a nomenclature resembling the following (from highest to lowest): professor; reader; senior lecturer; lecturer. Within this stratification, the professors, and only the professors, are entitled to be called “Prof. [name]” (rather than “Dr/Mr/Ms [name]”). In UK conservatoires, meanwhile, the term “professor” is used as the job title for all teaching staff (ironically, if there are any staff in conservatoires who do not get that job title, it would be the research-only staff and the staff who teach the more “academic” facets of the curriculum), but they would not be entitled to be called “Prof. [name]” unless they had also had that title conferred explicitly and additionally.

  • Britcellist says:

    It saddens me to read of people denigrating others with such pettiness. The lady in question is dead. She gave so much to so many. Who cares whether she was a doctor or an illerate. She made her mark in the world for the benefit of others.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    As others have said, this lady gave generously and we shouldn’t nit-pick over her title. However I would like to “nit-pick” over your headline, as it implies that the money was Quaker money – it wasn’t, it was Quaker Oats money. Quaker Oats have nothing to do with Quakers, they just chose the name and the “Quaker man” WIlliam Penn look-alike, because of the Quaker values of “honesty, integrity, purity and strength”. There is some frustration amongst “real” Quakers about this especially in regard to some Quaker Oats advertising campaigns which seem to endorse violence.

  • barry guerrero says:

    After all the bad news with Preucil, it’s great to hear some good news for the Cleveland Orchestra.

  • Tom Gillett says:

    The Orchestra will be feeling its oats.