The Creation of Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music, a Great Change for Music Department

Jolie Nguyen, Staff Writer

On Feb.9, 2021, the music department of Georgia Southern University (GSU) announced the establishment of Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music, which is named after two famous drum and guitar makers. With the approval of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the transformation of the music department into Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music brings huge benefits. 

Along with a fund of $3 million, GSU has the privilege of receiving great gifts such as historic instruments that bear a significant artistic value. The university will be able to display productions of the Gretsch company. 

“The Gretschs’ gift includes a tremendously important collection of historically significant instruments (primarily Gretsch guitars and drums) from the company’s founding in 1883 to the present day. Many of the instruments will be permanently displayed and others will be part of a traveling display,” Dr. Steven Harper said, professor and chair of Fred and Dinah School of Music. 

The transformation into Fred and Dinah music not only brings financial benefits and the ability of displaying Gretsch instruments, it also brings opportunities to the university to have a wider reach to students around the country. 

“Transforming the Department of Music into the Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of Music is hugely beneficial for Georgia Southern. Fred and Dinah Gretsch have devoted their lives to music and music education. This partnership will allow us to reach more students than ever before, have a greater community impact than ever before, and dramatically increase our visibility and national (and international) profile,” Harper said. 

Bearing the name of the Gretsch family impacts significantly on the music industry program of Georgia Southern University as well. This will not only bring benefits to the university, but also to Savannah, GA. 

“The naming of Fred and Dinah Gretsch School of music ties in closely with the development of our new music program on the Armstrong campus. This is a major expansion of our offerings and will allow us to attract and serve a whole new group of students. We intend for the program to amplify Georgia Southern’s status as a major economic force for the region, tying in with Savannah’s status as a haven for the arts,” Harper said. 

“I’m very interested to see where this is going to take the music department as a whole,” Michael Beke said, freshman of music industry major.