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Phyllis and Andrew Berwick embrace outside the Frohnmayer Music Building.

$5 Million Gift Endows Deanship at School of Music and Dance

By Steve Fyffe

Prominent University of Oregon alumni Phyllis and Andrew Berwick have given generously to strengthen student life and music programs at the UO, and their most recent gift goes one step further: They have pledged $5 million to establish an endowed deanship at the School of Music and Dance.

“This extraordinary gift from two of our most generous supporters will have a transformational impact on the programs in our school for years to come,” said Sabrina Madison-Cannon, who is now the Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean of the School of Music and Dance.

Renowned choreographer Dwight Rhoden leads a masterclass at the UO Dance Dept. (photo credit: City of Eugene Cultural Services/Ben Schorzman)

UO Dancers Leap at Chance to Work with Master Choreographer

By Steve Fyffe

Dwight Rhoden is wearing black. Black shirt, black undershirt, black pants, black shoes, ankle-length black socks, horn-rimmed glasses with black frames. Even his neatly trimmed goatee is died black.

Just about the only thing about Rhoden that’s not black today is his hair, which is a fierce and unapologetically artificial shade of blonde.

It’s a fitting outfit for one of America’s most influential choreographers. His wardrobe choices are an echo of the dances he’s known for — stylish, singular and bold.

UO Dance Department founder M. Frances Dougherty (left) and her successor Linda Hearn (right).

Dougherty/Hearn Dance Scholarship Honors Department Founder and Successor

By Jenifer Craig
Emerita Associate Professor and 5th Department Head of UO Dance (1992-2016)

Physical Education Department professor emerita Lois Youngen has created a new dance scholarship in honor of her former colleagues M. Frances Dougherty and Linda Hearn.

“Of all the things I’d give money for at the UO, scholarships to students reap the greatest benefit," Youngen said.

Sabrina Madison-Cannon, dean of the University of Oregon School of Music & Dance

Dancing on the Shoulders of Giants

By Steve Fyffe

Sabrina Madison-Cannon’s parents had a simple reason for sending their four-year-old daughter to her first dance lesson.

“My parents thought, ‘It would be great to put her in something that makes her more graceful, because she’s pretty clumsy,’” says Madison-Cannon.

They had no way of knowing that she was taking the first steps on a journey that would take her around the world as a featured performer with one of America’s most celebrated modern dance companies.

Former professor and associate dean Edmund A. Cykler. Photo credit: UO Special Collections & University Archives (1972)

Gift creates new endowed chair to honor UO music pioneer

By Steve Fyffe

A professor who helped put the University of Oregon on the world’s musical map will have his legacy live on thanks to a former student’s $1 million gift establishing a faculty chair in his name.

The Edmund A. Cykler Chair in Music will receive an additional $1 million in matching funds from the Presidential Fund for Excellence, created last year by UO president Michael Schill with a $50 million gift from an anonymous donor.

Instructor of music education Beth Wheeler teaches children with severe emotional issues at Jasper Mountain treatment center.

Volunteer Brings Music to Children Who Need it the Most

By Sarah Eddy

Jasper Mountain, a treatment center for children with emotional issues, hoped that Beth Wheeler would come out and teach music once or twice a year. Wheeler, a UO instructor of music education, negotiated. She now volunteers at Jasper twice a week.

“If you can hear my voice, eyes on me,” Wheeler said to a group of 5- to 8-year-olds one Thursday morning. A few students snapped to attention, sitting “crisscross applesauce” on the carpet. Others continued to fidget and chatter.

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