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Last modified: Monday, June 10, 2013

Ehrlich honored with University Medal during Alumni Hall rededication

IU president emeritus shares organ-naming honor with Jacobs School dean emeritus Webb

June 10, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie presented the University Medal to IU President Emeritus Thomas Ehrlich at the June 7 rededication of the renovated Alumni Hall.

Thomas Ehrlich receives the University Medal

President Michael A. McRobbie presented the University Medal to IU President Emeritus Thomas Ehrlich.

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The ceremony also served as the formal naming of the organ recently installed in the historic hall in the Indiana Memorial Union, now known as the Webb-Ehrlich Great Organ of Alumni Hall. Ehrlich shares the naming honor with Charles H. Webb, dean emeritus of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

"Tom Ehrlich's leadership made a lasting mark on Indiana University," McRobbie said. "His years at IU were distinguished by a renaissance in academic programs, and energies were refocused on fundamental academic issues to the enduring benefit of students and the citizens of Indiana. In many ways -- including enhancing the university's relationship with Indiana lawmakers and citizens, substantially increasing outside research funding and private funding, and tirelessly advocating for the university and higher education through his public outreach -- he greatly advanced IU, higher education and the cause of community service.

"Tom and his wife, Ellen, were also passionate supporters of the arts at Indiana University, and so it was especially fitting to honor the Ehrlichs and their longtime friend Charles Webb and his late wife, Kenda, by naming this magnificent organ in their honor."

The University Medal, created in 1982 by then IU President John W. Ryan, is the highest award bestowed by Indiana University. It honors individuals for singular or noteworthy contributions, including service to the university and achievement in arts, letters, science and law, and is the only IU medal that requires approval from the Board of Trustees.

Webb, Charles

The newly dedicated Webb-Ehrlich Great Organ of Alumni Hall bears the name of Charles H. Webb, dean emeritus of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

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The rededication ceremony served as the official re-opening of Alumni Hall and the adjoining Solarium, following a $2.5 million renovation that began in the summer of 2012. Improvements include replacing the hall's woodwork, painting the ceiling in an eye-catching cream and crimson pattern, renovating the Solarium's architecture to better complement the historic space and installing the organ.

Also at the ceremony, the IU Alumni Association presented awards to five individuals for their service and volunteer leadership.

Indiana University acquired the three-manual, 44-stop, 2,838-pipe instrument -- known to Massachusetts-based organ building company C.B. Fisk as Opus 91 -- in the spring of 2012.

The French Baroque-inspired instrument, built in 1987, was previously installed in a specially constructed concert hall at a private residence owned by the late Jacques M. Littlefield in Portola Valley, Calif. The organ's acquisition and migration to the Bloomington campus were made possible through a gift arrangement with Sandy Montenegro Littlefield and her children, Jacques Christian Littlefield and Jeannik Sandy Nicole Littlefield.

While Webb gave the organ's inaugural performance at the rededication ceremony by playing several musical selections for those in attendance, the organ's public debut will take place Sept. 15 to 18 at a conference sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music Organ Department and its alumni wing, the Indiana Organists United.

The conference, "An Organ at the Crossroads," will feature Jacobs School of Music organ faculty Colin Andrews, Janette Fishell, David Kazimir, Bruce Neswick, and Christopher Young, as well as Professor Emerita Marilyn Keiser, Webb and other distinguished guest artists.

The Jacobs School of Music is home to three Fisk organs, the largest number of instruments by the pre-eminent builder in any one location in the world. The others are housed in Auer Hall and in the school's Music Addition building.