St. Olaf College | News

Gift from alumnus helps establish endowed chair in honor of Scholz

Robert Scholz ’61 served on the St. Olaf College music faculty for nearly four decades before retiring in 2005.

A gift from St. Olaf College alumnus Steven Fox ’77 will establish the Robert Scholz Endowed Chair in Music.

Scholz, a 1961 St. Olaf graduate, served on the college’s music faculty for nearly four decades before retiring in 2005. He led the Chapel Choir, Viking Chorus, Campus Choir (now Cantorei), and Chamber Choir in addition to teaching voice, choral conducting, and choral literature.

Known on campus as “Dr. Bob,” Scholz served as a mentor to hundreds of St. Olaf students — including Fox, who sang in Viking Chorus under Scholz for four years.

The lasting impact of that mentorship prompted Fox to provide a gift that will, through the Strategic Initiative Match, result in a $1.5 million commitment for the endowed chair in Scholz’s honor. The Strategic Initiative Match is a St. Olaf Board of Regents program that provides matching funds for gifts above $50,000 that support the college’s strategic plan.

“As students we only spend a short time on campus, but many of the faculty spend most of their career on campus,” Fox says, noting that establishing the endowed chair is one way to pay tribute to that dedication.

In addition to his academic work, Scholz helped found the St. Olaf Summer Music Camp and assisted in planning the St. Olaf Christmas Festival. He also established the Northfield Chorale, which he conducted for 16 years.

In 1995 Scholz received the F. Melius Christiansen Award for outstanding contributions to choral music from the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. He continues to compose, guest conduct, and teach.