UA Music Building Named George And Boyce Billingsley Music Building

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees have honored George and Boyce Billingsley of Bella Vista, Ark., by naming the UA music building the George and Boyce Billingsley Music Building.

The Billingsleys, UA alumni and long-time supporters, recently transformed their love of international culture into a $1.15 million gift to the University of Arkansas’ music department. The Boyce and George Billingsley Music Fund will establish an international music preservation program, the focal point of which is the new World Center for Research in Ancient Asian and Mid-Eastern Music; develop the University of Arkansas opera program, now led by Distinquished Professor Sarah Caldwell; and support other programs within the department of music.

George Billingsley is chairman and chief executive officer of Pacific Resources Export Limited and president of International Tours of Northwest Arkansas. A 1957 UA graduate with a degree in history, he enjoys the cultural heritage of other countries. He and his wife, Boyce, a 1955 graduate in finance and banking, harbor close ties to the U of A. They were both charter members of the Chancellor’s Society, contributed to the restoration of Old Main and have been active supporters of the Arkansas Alumni Association and intercollegiate athletics.

UA Chancellor John White said, "This naming of the music building is one of the many ways the University would like to show its gratitude to George and Boyce for their loyal support. Their gift will enhance academic excellence in our music programs and help the University reach its vision of a nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world."

Stephen Gates, chairman of the music department, said, "In naming our building, we wanted to thank the Billingsleys for their generous gift. The George and Boyce Billingsley Music Building symbolizes their visionary support in helping us develop and enhance programs of international importance."

The gift will allow the University to bring aboard two distinguished scholars, Rembrandt Wolpert and Elizabeth Markham, who will join the University of Arkansas faculty in March to work in the World Center. They will continue their research with Sarah Caldwell, who is active in music preservation efforts and founder of the International Music Preservation Program at the Library of Congress. Wolpert, who is a noted linguist, scholar and scientist as well as a musician, has developed a computer program that assists in the transcription of these ancient Asian manuscripts into Western staff notation.

George Billingsley said, "We are delighted that the University has chosen to use our name on this building. Our gift seemed like a perfect way for us to integrate our love of the University with our passion for international culture. With the establishment of the University’s World Center for Research in Ancient Asian and Mid-Eastern Music and Sarah Caldwell’s direction in the opera program, the music department will reach well beyond the borders of Arkansas and the United States."

Caldwell became a distinguished professor at the University in the fall of 1999 to head up its opera program.

Gates joined the University in 1973 and is a professor in the department of music. He holds a B.A. degree from Harvard College, a master’s degree of music from Yale University and a doctorate in music from the University of Texas at Austin.

The George and Boyce Billingsley Music Building was completed in 1976 as an annex to the Fine Arts Building, which was designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1950. The building has three large classrooms, several small classrooms, an electronic piano studio, a computer lab, an organ studio, faculty offices and practice rooms as well as administrative offices. It houses the UA department of music, which consists of 30 faculty and 225 students. The department offers a bachelor’s degree in music education, performance theory/composition and music history, and a master’s degree in music.

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