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April 20, 2011

Martin Messinger ’49 endows deanship at Eastman School

Most recent commitment continues longtime legacy of support

Building upon more than four decades of generously supporting programs and initiatives across the University, Martin Messinger ’49 and his wife, Joan, have made a commitment to endow the position of Eastman school dean. Douglas Lowry, the school’s sixth dean, will be named the first Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. The deanship provides a source of permanent funding in support of programming and areas of critical need for the dean.

“Marty and Joan Messinger have built an extraordinary philanthropic legacy at the University,” says University President Joel Seligman. “Their longstanding commitment and generosity have enriched the academic experience for students and faculty. We are particularly grateful for this leadership gift that emphasizes the Eastman School’s preeminent role in music education.”

Messinger grew up in Irondequoit and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and government at the University in 1949. He worked for Merrill Lynch & Co. in Rochester during the 1950s and 1960s before joining the firm’s executive offices in New York City. Since 1973, Messinger has been managing partner of Neuberger & Berman LLC.

A life trustee of the University, Messinger has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1989 and a member of the Eastman School’s Board of Managers since 1998. He joined the school’s National Council in 2008.

The Messinger family has a strong tradition of support for the University, with their philanthropic commitments increasing significantly following his appointment to the Board of Trustees. In addition to their personal contributions, a philanthropic foundation founded by the Messingers in 1998 has supported the University, a passion that extends to members of their family. Their daughter, Rabbi Sarah Jo Messinger, earned her degree in religious studies from the University in 1982. She is joined by her sisters—Daryl, Alice, and Lisa—in furthering the family’s philanthropic legacy through their Messinger Family Foundation involvement.

At the Eastman School, the Messinger family’s generosity helped provide a new home for the Eastman Community Music School at 10 Gibbs St. The facility was dedicated in October 2005 in memory of Martin Messinger’s mother, Anne Waltuck Messinger, for her love of music. On the River Campus, Messinger’s gifts have enabled Rush Rhees Library to renovate its Periodical Reading Room and create a dedicated space for graduate study rooms. Other areas that have benefited from the family’s philanthropy are the debate team, known as the Debate Union, the Goergen Athletic Center, the annual Library Recognition Award, and the Center for Jewish Studies.

“I am proud to be associated with the Eastman School of Music, one of the world’s premier institutions for music performance, scholarship, and entrepreneurship,” Martin Messinger says. “This commitment is just the beginning. It is my hope that others will join us in honoring the Eastman School’s legacy of innovation and artistry through generous endowed funding for its faculty leaders.”

“Marty has been a steadfast believer in the University, and his support of Eastman has been truly inspirational,” Lowry says. “Joan and Marty’s values, wisdom, and sense of family are only a few of their admirable traits, and we treasure their being part of the Eastman family.”

Lowry will be officially installed as the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music in September 2011.

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