In the Loop
Friends and Giving : Jul 23, 2020

Gator Band alumni make donation to name directorship and endow scholarship

By Brandon McKinley (BMUS & BSPR '17)

University of Florida alumni Rolf M. and Anne T. Kuhns made a major estate gift to the School of Music’s Gator Marching Band, expanding the couple’s existing named scholarship and creating the band’s first endowed marching band directorship.  

“The passion that Anne and Rolf Kuhns have demonstrated through their gifts to the University of Florida and the Gator Band is a perfect reflection of their love for each other and dedication to enriching the lives of current and future students,” says Jay Watkins, director of the Gator Marching Band.  

The Kuhns, who both marched in the Gator Band, are committing an estate gift to establish the Rolf M. and Anne T. Kuhns Director of the Gator Marching Band, an endowed chair for a thought-leader in the arts. The endowed chair ensures a continual stream of funding, which provides flexibility in both time and money to the band program and it students. Appointment to an endowed chair is one of the highest honors an academic can receive. 

This chair is the second endowed professorship in the College of the Arts. The first was the Andrew Banks Family Endowed Chair in the School of Art + Art History.  

“The College of the Arts is incredibly grateful for the Kuhns' transformational investment in the band,” says Onye Ozuzu, dean of the College of the Arts. “The band program is a hallmark of the University of Florida and encapsulates what it means to be a part of the Gator Nation. The Kuhns’ generosity affirms their first-hand understanding of why music matters to society and how the band shapes the student experience across the educational and cultural landscape.” 

The Kuhns will also expand their existing scholarship fund to continue supporting students in the band program. The Rolf M. and Anne T. Kuhns Endowed Scholarship is awarded to students that demonstrate involvement, service, and leadership in the band program.  

Rolf M. Kuhns, who played clarinet in Gator Band, graduated the University of Florida in 1972 from the College of Public Health and Health Professions with a bachelor’s in physical therapy. Anne T. Kuhns was a music student and played trumpet in marching band. She graduated with a bachelor’s in music education in 1970 and a master’s in education in 1975.  

“The Gator Marching Band is like family,” the Kuhns say. “The experiences we had in the band were instrumental in shaping major moments in our lives. Being in band taught us about teamwork, humility, work ethic, and so much more, which truly formed us into the people we are today. We wanted to give back to students and the program so that generations of musicians may have the transformational experience and opportunities afforded to them by the Gator Band.” 

To learn more about making a gift to the College of the Arts or Gator Marching Band, visit our website.