EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State University FCU marked today’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day with an announcement Sunday at a concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. that it is contributing $1 million to the MSU College of Music to establish a jazz artist-in-residence program.
The contribution, one of the biggest credit union gifts ever, is also the largest corporate gift the music school has ever received and the largest gift supporting a single academic program.
The residency program will bring established musicians such as Branford Marsalis as well as rising figures in the jazz world to East Lansing for a week at a time. They'll work with students and perform. The school says the guest artists and its own jazz groups also will perform around Michigan, with special focus on Detroit.
The $1 million gift recognizes the emergence of jazz studies as one of the school’s signature programs in the last decade under the leadership of director Rodney Whitaker. A bassist and native Detroiter, Whitaker, 44, has had an extensive international career, working and recording with Wynton Marsalis, among others.