USC Thornton gets $4 million gift from Westerbeck Estate
The USC Thornton School of Music, one of the oldest music schools in the country, recently announced a gift of $4 million from the estate of alumna Adrienne Westerbeck ’34, MS ’43 and her husband, Robert.
Marking the single largest contribution in the history of USC Thornton specifically for endowed scholarships, the donation will establish the Adrienne Westerbeck Endowed Music Scholarship to provide support to students pursuing music degrees at the school. It is the third largest donation after those by namesake Flora L. Thornton.
“We are thrilled that Addie chose to create this scholarship for our students,” said Dean Robert Cutietta.
The endowed scholarship will exist in perpetuity and will provide annual support to numerous USC Thornton students regardless of degree level or discipline. The school currently provides more than $5.5 million in merit-based financial aid every year.
Born Adrienne Zick, Westerbeck spent her childhood in New York and Colorado before moving with her family to California. Addie, as friends knew her, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music, as well as a master’s in education from USC. She taught music at Pasadena City College until her retirement in 1971 and was the organist for the Christian Science Church in Los Feliz until shortly before her death earlier this year.
“Clearly, what motivated her, as what motivates all great teachers, is her passion to help students learn,” Cutietta said. “This award is especially meaningful to us since she was an alumnus, and she obviously valued the education she received.”
A trustee of the Westerbeck Family Trust and longtime neighbor Hermina Allen added: “Addie’s overriding pleasure in life came from her music. That is why, in a time when the arts are often neglected, Addie wanted to make sure that music students could reach their dreams through the gift of scholarship.”
In addition to the $4 million gift to USC Thornton, the couple left $4 million to Pasadena City College to establish the Robert Westerbeck Scholarship Endowment.
A new display case celebrating Westerbeck’s gift is available for viewing in the Alfred Newman Recital Hall.
Sometime this fall, USC Thornton’s organ practice room will be named the Adrienne Westerbeck Organ Room. Her name will be permanently affixed to the outside of the room housed in the practice facilities for the school.
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