NAU names Kitt School of Music
“Generally, the idea is to inspire faculty and administrative staff with the knowledge that they now have the opportunity to achieve some of their dreams,” said Michael Kitt.
2021 ended on a high note for Northern Arizona University, with a donation from longtime supporters Michael and Karen Kitt leading to the nomination of the Kitt School of Music. NAU has also created the position of Michael and Karen Kitt Trustee within the College of Arts and Humanities. This is the largest donation ever made to the college and will be used to enhance its music education experience, as well as its connection to the Northern Arizona community.
The gift will specifically support the School of Music’s priorities of increasing NAU’s recognition of outstanding faculty and students, providing opportunities for future generations of music teachers, conductors, performers, and scholars, and providing performance engaging communities that can be enjoyed by all.
The Kitts have supported the School of Music in the past with donations used to establish the Michael and Karen Kitt Conducting Scholarship, the Michael and Karen Kitt Professorial Chair for Piano, and most visibly the Kitt Recital Hall. .
“Karen and Michael Kitt have been among the largest and most enthusiastic supporters of the School of Music since arriving in Flagstaff nearly a decade ago,” said Christopher Boyer, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. .
The Kitts’ interest in music school began years ago when they attended concerts at Ashurst Hall. “We realized that the talent that resides in the School of Music is incredible, between the faculty and the students they recruit. It just blew our minds,” said Karen Kitt.
Inspired by these experiences, the Kitts realized that the aging Ashurst Hall was not an ideal venue for musical performances. Thus, they made the main donation for the new recital hall.
Michael Kitt said the positive impact of the Kitt Recital Hall on the university and the Flagstaff community made him and Karen realize the possibilities of an even larger donation. “We wanted to allow the school to do more with its students and to do more shows for the benefit of the community. Faculty-wise, it’s as good as it gets,” he said. “But the facilities, the equipment, the instruments – a lot of them are a bit dated, so it’s quite easy to have a big impact.”
NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera said the wider NAU community is proud to recognize the Kitts as lifelong loggers. “Mike and Karen’s foresight, leadership, and generosity have had a transformative impact on NAU faculty, students, and the Flagstaff community, elevating NAU’s prestige in Arizona and the region for excellence in the musical arts.”
“Generally, the idea is to inspire faculty and administrative staff with the knowledge that they now have the opportunity to achieve some of their dreams,” said Michael Kitt. NBF
By Kevin Schindler, FBN