West Chester University has received a $3 million gift, the largest in the school's history, for its School of Music, the school announced Friday.
James Wells (Class of 1954) and Richard Wells (1958), brothers from Chester County, donated the landmark endowment that will go toward ensemble performance travel, instruments, music education programs, student scholarships, and more.
"To promote music and music education, West Chester University School of Music must continue to attract the most talented candidates, offer much-needed scholarships, and secure national recognition as a preeminent music education school," said James Wells, a longtime director of bands, who led the school's Golden Rams marching band from 1968 to 1992. "It is our intent to foster these ideals and strengthen the school as a fertile training ground for the persevering musicians of today and tomorrow."
On top of the monetary gift, the School of Music will gain a new identity on Thursday: the Wells School of Music. The name will be unveiled at a free Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony performance dedicated to the brothers at 8:15 p.m. in the school's Asplundh Concert Hall on South High Street.
University president Christopher Fiorentino called the Wells brothers pioneers in music and said, "We are overwhelmed with the generosity of this gift.
"Their willingness to make a significant difference in students' lives is testament to their character, generosity, and ability to inspire an entire generation of future musicians," Fiorentino said.
Christopher Hanning, interim dean of the School of Music, said the school is "excited to have the funding support that will be there in perpetuity — it isn't going to change, it isn't going to go away."
The Wells brothers "have spent their careers supporting students and educating students, so to continue that legacy at West Chester with our students is really a remarkable thing," he said. "To be a named school of music is prestigious for us. It means, to the community at large, that somebody believes in us."