A $1.5 million gift from a pair of life-long, music loving Lawrence University graduates will establish an endowed professorship in the college’s conservatory of music university officials announced today.
Cellist Janet Anthony, professor of music, will be the first holder of the new George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professorship in Music, effective July 1. Appointments to endowed professorships are made in recognition of academic and artistic distinction through teaching excellence and/or scholarly achievement.
The Chandler Professorship is the fourth endowed professorship established during Lawrence’s six-year, $150 million “More Light” campaign, which concludes in October.
“Professor Anthony has inspired students at Lawrence and around the world with her passion for music,” Lawrence President Jill Beck said in announcing the appointment. “She is a respected teacher, mentor and performer who has dedicated her career to enriching others’ lives with her scholarship and music.
“Janet Anthony is an extraordinary asset to the Lawrence faculty and to the Conservatory of Music and I am proud to be able to recognize her contributions with this professorship,” Beck added.
While George and Marjorie Chandler both attended Lawrence, they did not meet as students, having graduated seven years apart, 1951 and 1944, respectively. They married in 1962 and shared a mutual love of music — George sang in the choir as a student, Marjorie played piano — and an appreciation for their experiences at Lawrence.
Originally from Waukegan, Ill., George Chandler earned a degree magna cum laude in classics from Lawrence and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Illinois. He enjoyed a distinguished career as an attorney, planner and manager with the Interstate Commerce Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation. He retired in 1985 and makes his home today in Durham, N.C.
Marjorie Chandler, an Oshkosh native, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota. She was a statistician with Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., and later in her career worked as a senior official at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education. Marjorie died in 2003.
“We were always attracted to classical music,” said George Chandler in explaining the decision to endow a music professorship. “During our 35 years in the Washington D.C., area, it was a rare week when we failed to attend some kind of musical performance at the Kennedy Center, the National Cathedral or George Mason University. We selected our retirement home in North Carolina with the rich musical life provided largely by the many nearby colleges and universities in mind.”
He also credited many of his former professors for forging a life-long affection for Lawrence.
“Not only were they all brilliant teachers who knew how to draw the best out of their students, but they were able to make a callow youth brought up on the Chicago Tribune, ‘see the light,’” said Chandler.
The Chandlers met Anthony in the early 1990s when they took a Bjorklunden summer seminar on Mozart she taught. In 2007, the Lawrence Chamber Players, of which Anthony is a member, performed in Durham in George Chandler’s honor.
Anthony, an active soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, has taught cello at Lawrence since 1984. She has toured with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Austrian Radio Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna Symphony. She also has performed or taught in Argentina, China, Curacao, Japan, Venezuela and Vietnam and, as a member of the Duo Kléber, she has performed in England, France, Italy and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Since 1996, Anthony has made annual trips to Haiti to conduct, perform and teach at music schools there. She often takes students with her and to date, nearly 50 have accompanied her on her travels to assist at the schools.
After a devastating earthquake hit the country in 2010, Anthony helped organized a benefit concert in Appleton for Haiti and collected needed supplies for the survivors, including gently used instruments. Since the quake, she has performed in four memorial concerts in Haiti, including one this past Jan 12 — the one-year anniversary of the quake — for an audience of those who had lost their homes and who were living in tents on the main square of Jacmel, home of the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School, Haiti’s second largest, which was heavily damaged.
A frequent performer on Wisconsin Public Radio, Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She also studied at Vienna’s famed Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst.