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Gifts and bequest help recruit talented woodwind students

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 “I learned valuable lessons in teamwork, leadership, dedication, and self-discipline while at MSU that I continue to apply on a daily basis,” said Larry Phillips (Music, ’73 with honors) of his time on campus as an undergraduate student practicing in the recital halls and classrooms of the Music Building.
            When Larry attended Michigan State University, he was awarded a small scholarship during his first two freshman terms in 1969. This scholarship, along with loans, savings, and part-time work, allowed him to finish his first year uninterrupted. Larry worked part-time almost continuously while carrying a full load of classes, even dropping out for half of his junior year to work full-time in order to pay for his last year of education.
            He attributes much of his success in life, both as a Naval Officer and now as a business manager for a large aerospace company, to his study of music. Since he credited the scholarship he received at the start of his freshman year for helping him realize his goal of a degree in music, Larry wanted to provide the same opportunity to other woodwind students. He was convinced that his undergraduate degree was possible as a result of the scholarship he received at the start of his freshman year. That scholarship allowed him more time to concentrate on his studies and not have a heavy part-time work schedule, so he wanted to ensure that other financially challenged, dedicated students could get a start in music studies at the university level without the distractions of a part-time job.
            In 2000, Larry and his wife, Jayne (Ohlmacher) (Social Science, ’74), whom he met during his undergraduate years at MSU, established the L.M. Phillips Woodwind Scholarship in Music through a bequest. “It seemed the best way to ensure that a scholarship could be started,” explained Larry. “Making the bequest arrangements were simple.  We worked with Dan Chegwidden, director of Gift Planning at University Development, and with the College of Music, to create the requirements for the scholarship award. It was easy and painless.” 
            For Larry and Jayne, this was just the beginning. At the conclusion of calendar years 2007 and 2008, they made cash contributions to their Woodwind Scholarship. “We decided that funding the scholarship and making yearly additional donations prior to our retirement would increase the number of students who would benefit,” Larry said. “Through this process, we could also continue to increase the amount available to the scholarship with additional donations.”
            “We are grateful for the investment in student scholarship support,” said James Forger, dean of the College of Music. “In these challenging economic times, private support for talented and dedicated students is needed and most appreciated. The Phillipses’ commitment helps us build that bright future and provides an investment in the talent of tomorrow in perpetuity.”
Ryan Finefrock was the first recipient of the L.M. Phillips Woodwind Scholarship in Music, which he was awarded in his freshman year as an out-of-state student studying with Michael Kroth, associate professor of bassoon. “Ryan was highly recruited by the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College,” Kroth said, “and the Phillips Woodwind Scholarship helped persuade him to come to MSU.”
            “There is a personal joy in knowing that you are helping someone achieve their educational goals,” Larry explained. “Anyone who can afford to make a donation of this kind should seriously consider it.”
            For more information on the College of Music, go online to For more information about making a gift to the College of Music, contact Director of Development Rebecca Surian at (517) 353-9872.