LINCOLN — University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials were singing a happy tune Tuesday because of an $8 million gift to support university music programs.
The gift came from Glenn Korff, a fourth-generation Nebraskan who graduated from UNL in 1965.
The money will create a permanently endowed fund, with the annual income going to support students, faculty and programs within the UNL School of Music.
The School of Music will be renamed the Glenn Korff School of Music, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Charles O'Connor, endowed dean of UNL's Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Art, said the gift marked the beginning of a new chapter for the 119-year-old school.
“We can, for the first time, think about things that we have not been able to do,” he said.
Those could be programs, instruments, performances, classes, overseas opportunities for students and more.
As a result, the school should be able to attract better students and faculty and gain renown in the worlds of music and academia, O'Connor said.
UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the endowment can take the school to the next level. It is expected to yield nearly $500,000 per year.
“It is really a transformative gift for the school,” he said.
Korff said he expected the money would benefit musical presentations, dance and the performing arts, including the Cornhusker Marching Band.
“I am honored to be able to make this contribution in order to provide future programs that will enlighten and entertain families and generations of Nebraskans for years to come,” he said.
Although he majored in chemistry, Korff's passion for the performing arts began on the UNL campus. He was a member of Kosmet Klub, a male musical and comedy ensemble, in which he was a set designer.
He went on to earn a master's degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and spent his career in the area of finance and investments, retiring from Goldman Sachs.
A Hebron native who now lives in Boulder, Colo., Korff has been a strong supporter of the university and has served as a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation.
He and his brother, Ken Korff, recently donated to the UNL College of Business Administration's new building initiative in honor of their father, Paul Korff. The family also has supported scholarships.
Earlier this year, Korff gave $2 million to help the Centennial Mall renovation project in Lincoln reach its $9.6 million campaign goal.