Godsey gift will create keyboard studies program at Mercer University

Staff reportApril 28, 2014 

Godsey gift will create keyboard studies program at Mercer University

A gift from a former Mercer University president will establish a program for keyboard studies at the school.

R. Kirby Godsey, Mercer’s chancellor and its longest-serving president, has given $1.5 million to establish the Joan S. Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies in the Townsend School of Music in honor of his wife, Joan.

The gift will enable the School of Music to buy 37 Steinway pianos and refurbish seven existing Steinways. It also will create an endowment fund to help maintain the pianos, according to a statement from the school.

The new Joan S. Godsey Center for Keyboard Studies will host the annual Joan S. Godsey Concert Series, which will feature leading international performing keyboard artists.

The Godsey Center joins the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Church Music Studies as signature programs of the Townsend School of Music.

Joan Godsey, born and raised in Hattiesburg, Miss., graduated from Mississippi College with a bachelor of music degree in piano. Later, she earned master’s degrees in church music and religious education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In the ensuing years, she served as organist, choir master and minister of music at several churches.

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