Endowing Your Passion: Cal Johnson '71
Cal Johnson ‘71 wanted to make a creative gift to Kalamazoo College that would benefit not only the academic experience but also the College's bottom line. He thought about his own passion for music and how he could incorporate his goals into a gift that would support K. As a retired Professor of Music and College Organist at Agnes Scott College, Cal understands how planned gifts can contribute much to the life of an institution. He worked with the Kalamazoo College Office of Development to connect with the music department and create an endowment that would be effective for the future of the music program.
"I was able to aide in the long-term planning for the College, while supporting my passion," he said. He established The Calvert Johnson '71 Endowment for the Maintenance of Keyboard Musical Instruments. Fully funded through his trust, the endowment will support the upkeep of pianos, pipe organs, harpsichords, and fortepianos in buildings across campus. Andrew Koehler, Associate Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, explains "Keyboard instruments are essential to nearly every activity of the music department -from the resonant sounds of our Steinway in the hands of a distinguished guest artist to a student in a practice room drilling chord progressions for a theory class. Having a means to maintain these indispensable resources is critical to our educational and cultural roles at the College."
Even while a student at K, Cal saw the value in maintaining keyboard instruments; his Senior Individualized Project involved the rebuilding of a pipe organ in Battle Creek, Mich. When Cal first came to Kalamazoo College, he intended to study foreign languages. During his sophomore year, he acted as a mathematics teaching assistant in Honduras for his career service work, and he studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, immersing himself in the Spanish culture and traveling in the area. Throughout his time at K, his passion for music and keyboard instruments remained a part of his life, expressed through his performances in various recitals and concerts, including the Bach Festival. His experiences persuaded him to earn his degree in music and pursue a career in the field. Music allowed him to have a broad focus in research, performance, history, and supported his interests in professorship in a liberal arts environment.
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