Inspire a Musical Experience

David and Jerry Mitchell provide School of Music
Student Performance Opportunities


David and Jerry Mitchell’s passion and love for music has been a part of their lives since they were
children. The couple, from Terre Haute, Indiana, continues to support the development of music locally, nationally and all around the world.

Since he was a child, David’s mother, Gladys, strongly encouraged him and his siblings to play the piano. She graduated from Indiana State Normal School with a degree in music.

“Even though I preferred to play football, I did what my mother told me and learned to play the piano. After learning piano, we chose an instrument; I chose the trumpet.” David said.

Throughout high school, David continued to play the trumpet in the marching band.

Like David, Jerry’s passion for music developed from her family of musicians. Her grandmother, grandmother’s brother and grandfather all played instruments.

“We were always around music growing up. Every Saturday, we would listen to the live philharmonic on the radio,” Jerry said.

Music has been a way of life for both David and Jerry, and when the couple married, their enthusiasm for music continued. They ardently support the local Terre Haute Symphony even when they traveled throughout the world and lived in Central America for 30 years. While living in Central America, they supported the Bolivia Symphony and became fascinated with the guitar.

“Giving comes from within and from what you have learned from your family,” David said.

When the Mitchells decided they wanted to support Indiana State, the music program was their first choice. After discussing the needs of the School of Music with University leadership, David and Jerry felt inspired to create experiential learning opportunities for ISU’s aspiring musicians.

“Dr. Tom Sauer [former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences] and Dr. Dan Bradley [ISU president] inspired us to give. They were the ones that thought there really was a need for experiential learning and community engagement in the music department. We all wanted more students to come to Indiana State for an education in music rather than going somewhere else,”
Jerry said.

In 2009, the Mitchells made their commitment of $100,000 to create the Music Experiential Learning and Community Engagement Fund.

“The Mitchells’ gift to the School of Music provided unprecedented opportunities for our students and faculty to take performances that would ordinarily be held only on campus to audiences around the state of Indiana and to Chicago in Symphony Hall. These performances provided our students “real-life” experiences of touring and performing in a number of different venues,” Dr. Nancy Cobb Lippens, director of the school of music said.

The fund has allowed music students to perform in front of hundreds of people in regional venues, including Indianapolis and Chicago. Since the development of the fund, more than 200 students have performed in six recitals and concerts. Additionally, the enrolment for the School of Music has grown by 7.5 percent.

“These once-in-a-lifetime experiences will be remembered by our students for the rest of their lives. We are extremely grateful to them [Dave and Jerry] for their generosity,” Dr. Cobb Lippens said.

David and Jerry have made a significant difference in the lives of music students at Indiana State University. With their support, the department of music is able to host recitals and concerts to expand the reach of Indiana State’s music program.

“We are strong believers that you don’t have to know the person you are giving to as long as it makes a difference.” Jerry said.