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Susan B. Anthony Center honors music educator Donna Brink Fox with Lifetime Achievement Award

January 15, 2016

Donna Brink FoxDonna Brink Fox, senior associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, will receive this year’s Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a champion of music education. The award will be given on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Susan B. Anthony Legacy Brunch, a long-standing University tradition that celebrates Anthony’s campaign for equal rights and to win women admission to the University in 1900.

“The Rochester community, University, and Eastman School of Music have all benefitted tremendously from Professor Fox’s contributions as a musician, scholar, educator, and administrator,” said Catherine Cerulli, director of the University’s Susan B. Anthony Center. “Her work in early childhood music education has helped transform the lives of students and families in our region and beyond.”

Shortly after arriving at the Eastman School of Music in 1984, Fox designed an early childhood music program for the Eastman Community Music School aimed at introducing students of all ages to music. The program, which Fox continues to direct, is currently in its 31st year and uses techniques and goals that have been replicated by countless programs across the country.

“She ventured out into somewhat uncharted waters with this initiative, but her enthusiasm and obvious expertise prompted our full support,” said Vincent Lenti, professor of piano and the Eastman School of Music’s historian.

Fox’s interest in childhood music education began while she was working on her master’s degree in music at Ohio University and became familiar with a nearby children’s center. Later, while working on her doctorate at Ohio State University, she began to study how children’s interactions with their parents impacted their vocal patterns.

“I’ve always been interested in the way music impacted people and how it made a difference in people’s lives. I want music to mean something to people,” said Fox. “So when I came to Rochester, I wanted to give parents ideas on how to incorporate music into every day activities like travelling in the car or preparing for bedtime.”

As a member of the faculty at the Eastman School of Music, Fox has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in music education, served as the doctoral academic advisor in music education, and advised the research projects of doctoral and master’s students, including 26 dissertations. In 1992, she founded the summer Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education course, a program she continues to direct. In 1998, she was named the Eisenhart Professor of Music Education, becoming the first endowed professor to be named at the Eastman School of Music.

In her latest role as senior associate dean of academic and student affairs, Fox is responsible for faculty affairs, including promotion and tenure reviews, annual activity reports, and hiring of part-time faculty. She also supervises the student program areas of student life, academic affairs, and residential life. She served several terms on the Faculty Senate and recently co-chaired the Middle States re-accreditation process for the University.

Based on her practice and research in the field of early childhood education, Fox has given presentations and clinics around the world and has written articles for a variety of music education publications. In addition, she co-authored a three-volume curriculum for teaching music in early childhood classrooms, Classroom Music for Little Mozarts (published by Alfred). The first volume of this series received a Parents’ Choice Award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. Her Rochester community honors include the Richard Snook Memorial Award from the Monroe County School Music Association and the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

“She has an amazing ability to balance a plethora of professional and personal responsibilities with poise, grace, and skill,” said Kellie Leigh, Eastman’s assistant dean of residential life. “It is an honor to work with her and I look forward to seeing how my own skills will develop because of my experiences working with Donna.”

Fox is the 15th woman to receive the Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award at the Susan B. Anthony Center’s annual celebration. Prior recipients include Linda Chaudron, senior associate dean for diversity at the University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry; Nora Bredes, former New York legislator and past director of the Susan B. Anthony Center; and Esther Conwell ’45, winner of the 2010 National Medal of Science and research professor of chemistry.

“I am tremendously honored by this recognition and to be associated with Susan B. Anthony’s legacy here at the University,” said Fox, who became acquainted with the Center through her daughter, Beth, when she studied at Eastman. In 2000, Beth was awarded the center’s Fannie Bigelow Prize for her work in the University’s Safe Zone Campaign. The Bigelow Prize is one of six student awards given out at center’s annual event.

At this year’s event, eight undergraduate students will receive awards and scholarships. The Susan B. Anthony Scholarship will be given to Natalie Fuentes of Ontario, California, a junior majoring in American Sign Language and brain and cognitive science; and Caprecia Singleton of Wichita, Kansas, a junior majoring in health, behavior, and society as well as human development. Angela Remus of Des Plaines, Illinois, a senior majoring in international relations and Spanish, will receive the Sue S. Stewart Leadership and Community Service Award. The Dean Ruth A. Merrill Award will be given to Crystal Colon of Rochester, a junior majoring in English.

The Susan B. Anthony Prize will be awarded to Bonnie Nortz of Fairport, a student in the University’s Take Five program studying math and linguistics. The Jane R. Plitt Award will be given to Sarah Vogel of Bloomfield, New Jersey, a senior majoring in psychology and French. And this year’s Fannie Bigelow prizes will be given to Shenice Morris of Hartford, Connecticut, a senior majoring in health, behavior, and society as well as Spanish, and Sequoia Kemp of DeWitt, New York, a senior also majoring in health, behavior, and society.

This year’s Legacy Awards Celebration will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Staybridge Suites in Rochester and is cosponsored by the University of Rochester’s Women’s Club. The event includes a keynote address by Tiffany Taylor Smith, founder of Culture Learning Partners, a consulting firm that works with schools, businesses and community organizations to increase cross-cultural relationships and cultural awareness. Tickets for the brunch are $30, or $20 for University students. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased by Friday, Jan. 29. For more information on seating and reservations, call 585. 275.8799 or visit

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Category: University News