Alumnus Harry Guenther will be supporting West Virginia University in perpetuity with a $500,000 planned gift establishing the Harry L. Guenther Fund for the WVU School of Music.
The fund will support the greatest needs of WVU’s School of Music and will be utilized at the Dean’s discretion.
“As someone who has been engaged in music making his entire life, Harry is very aware of developments in our field,” said College of Creative Arts Dean Keith Jackson. “By supporting the greatest needs of the School of Music, he has shown his trust in the leadership and the faculty to make wise decisions and set our path for the future. With this support we can adapt in real time and lead changes for the future. This flexibility is critical in a rapidly changing musical landscape.”
A native of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, Guenther followed in the footsteps of his two brothers to attend WVU, although he was the first to pursue music. Guenther studied bassoon and was a member of the University Singers, Wind Symphony and the Mountaineer Marching Band.
Guenther graduated in 1968 and taught music for two years in Marion County, West Virginia. In 1971, Guenther moved to Maryland and continued to teach before changing careers in 1985 to work for the government.
While working for the government, Guenther still had time to pursue his musical passions. He performed around the globe in a myriad of ensembles.
“I’ve traveled and played in many countries,” Guenther said, listing Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Taiwan and multiple European tours as some of his favorite stops along the way.
“Here at home, I had the honor of performing at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and at Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration,” Guenther said.
Guenther also participates in European performance tours sponsored by the WVU Alumni Band organization.
“I look back at what I’ve done and I can’t believe it,” Guenther said. “Simply because of the training I received at WVU, I’ve been able to have so many opportunities even as an amateur musician.”
Guenther hopes future generations of musicians can have these same opportunities, which is why he decided to support WVU’s School of Music with a planned gift.
“Most of my life’s experiences have been tied to music and that’s significant,” Guenther said. “I hope many more can follow in my footsteps.”
The gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.