Eileen Weiser And Dick Caldarazzo Give Largest Gift To University Musical Society In Its 146-Year History

$5 Million gift establishes the Weiser Caldarazzo Iconic Artists Endowment Fund.

By: Jun. 12, 2024
Eileen Weiser And Dick Caldarazzo Give Largest Gift To University Musical Society In Its 146-Year History
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With a generous gift of $5 million, University of Michigan (U-M) alumna Eileen Weiser and her husband Richard “Dick” Caldarazzo establish the Weiser Caldarazzo Iconic Artists Endowment Fund at the University Musical Society (UMS).

One of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country now approaching its 150th season, UMS relies on grants and donations like this one to support the continued presentation of world-class performing arts in Ann Arbor.

The fund will support two performances by significant artists or ensembles recognized as icons in today's vibrant performing arts scene.

Having served on Michigan's State Board of Education, the National Assessment Governing Board, the Presidential Scholars Commission, the Education Commission of the States, the 21st Century Education Commission, and as an appointee on the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the gift aligns with Weiser's priorities of supporting student enrichment and achievement. 

Weiser also holds piano performance degrees from Michigan State University (B.M.1972) and the University of Michigan (M.M., 1975), giving her a first-hand appreciation of how the performing arts support a vibrant cultural community in Southeast Michigan.

“The performing arts are precious to both of us for the haven they provide from everyday life.  We treasure how the arts challenge us, make us laugh or cry, provoke new thoughts and ideas while lifting up our emotions. They are essential to creating tolerance, strengthening our humanity, and helping people find balance in our increasingly complex world,” Weiser explained.

Weiser serves on U-M boards including the School of Education Dean's Advisory Council and the UMS Campaign Council. She has supported UMS over the years, most recently serving as a Title Sponsor in helping to fund the presentation of Itzhak Perlman & Friends in December 2023 and Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma in January 2024.

“The University Musical Society has provided amazing performance opportunities for 146 years. We are grateful that we can help ensure that tradition of excellence for the future, both for the performers they nurture and the joy they bring to our community,” Caldarazzo said.

Hailing from Chicago, Caldarazzo (U-M LSA ‘70, DePaul ‘75 J.D.) played offensive guard for the Michigan Wolverines in the 1970 Rose Bowl under the legendary Bo Schembechler. A Michigan Man through and through, Caldarazzo values upholding the distinctive “Leaders and Best” culture at Michigan — and establishing this new endowment at UMS does just that.

This is the first gift that Weiser and her husband Caldarazzo are making together, and the largest gift that UMS has ever received since its founding in 1879.

"As all of us at UMS look forward to our 150th season in 2028-29, and all the exciting things we are planning, it is incredibly gratifying to have this extraordinary commitment from Eileen Weiser and Dick Caldarazzo — two fervent believers in the arts and culture, UMS, and the University of Michigan,” Matthew VanBesien UMS president, noted. “Their support helps ensure we can always invite the world's most iconic and important artists and ensembles to perform on our stages and for the benefit of our students and the broader community.”

About UMS

 

A recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, UMS (also known as the University Musical Society) contributes to a vibrant cultural community by connecting audiences with performing artists from around the world in uncommon and engaging experiences. One of the oldest performing arts presenters in the country, UMS is an independent non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Michigan, presenting up to 70 music, theater, and dance performances by professional touring artists each season, along with over 100 free educational activities. UMS is committed to bold artistic leadership, engaged learning through the arts, and access and inclusiveness. Since 1990, the organization has co-commissioned and supported the production of more than 80 new or reimagined works. Matthew VanBesien became the organization's seventh president in July 2017.



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