Important Initiatives

Supporting the Rice University Music and Performing Arts Center

In June of 2013, The Shepherd School of Music received a gift from an anonymous donor to name a new building that will house an opera theater and include much needed rehearsal, teaching, and practice spaces to supplement the existing facilities in Alice Pratt Brown Hall.. Learn more at


Recruiting and supporting talented students

Endowed Merit Scholarships — $100,000 and above
Our highest funding priority, competitive scholarship packages for prospective students enable us to successfully recruit and support talented young artists. These named merit scholarships provide partial tuition support and can either be designated or used for general music scholarship support. Endowed funds can provide an enduring gift to honor a loved one or special faculty member.

Principal Orchestral Chairs — $500,000 each
The Shepherd School’s finest students are appointed to a principal orchestral chair for each of its six symphony orchestra concerts. Principal chair endowments will provide scholarship support for these students. Six orchestral chairs are available for naming: viola, flute, trumpet, clarinet, double bass and percussion.

Endowed Graduate Fellowships - $750,000 each
These named distinguished fellowships, which provide a full-tuition scholarship plus stipend, are awarded to the top students in the Shepherd School who demonstrate the most promise for having a significant career in music. They will be used to attract the most uniquely gifted graduate students to the school.

Ensemble Touring Program — $2,000,000
Building on the success of our recent east coast debut including New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Shepherd School aspires to establish a regular touring component involving both large and small ensembles. American destinations as well as venues abroad will provide our students with vital experience and enhance public awareness of the excellence of our programs.

Career Development Endowment - $2,000,000
Participating in auditions, competitions and festivals is an essential step in preparing for a successful musical career. Our named career development endowment provides funds for these critical activities so that our students can concentrate on musical preparation rather than financial concerns.

Attracting top faculty and guest artists to Rice

Endowed Professorships — $2.5 million to $4 million
Since music students generally make their decision to attend based on the faculty member with whom they will study, it is essential for the Shepherd School to recruit and retain the highest caliber of faculty. Endowed professorships representing a wide range of instrumental, vocal and academic areas are available for naming ($2.5 million), or new professorships may be created in targeted areas of the school’s program ($4 million).

Distinguished Guest Artist Residencies — $2 million
These named funds will allow the Shepherd School to invite many of the greatest instrumentalists, singers, pedagogues, language coaches, stage directors and set designers to the school on an annual basis and to forge ongoing and consistent educational experiences for our emerging young professional instrumentalists and singers.

Cultivating exceptional resources

Endowed Funds for Excellence in Opera - $1 million minimum
Named funds for excellence in opera will provide critical support to enhance all aspects of the Shepherd School’s operatic performances, from set and lighting design to costumes, vocal coaching and dramatic training.

Endowed Fund for Pianos and Instruments - $1 million
This important named fund will provide resources to purchase and rent pianos and specialized instruments and to repair and maintain Rice-owned instruments.

Grand Organ Endowment - $250,000
One of the finest organs in the country, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ (Fisk-Rosales) was installed at The Shepherd School in 1996. This named fund will support the annual maintenance of the organ and any significant repairs.

Endowment donors may designate a specific period of time over which their gift will be fulfilled, generally between one and five years. Endowments may also be created through a will or estate plan. Gifts of stock or other appreciated assets may provide greater tax benefits over check/cash. For more information, please contact Evan Morgan, Office of Development, at or 713-348-4363.

Please consult your tax advisors for recommendations on what is most beneficial for your financial situation.