$250,000 Gift From Eleanor Millonzi to Help UB Attract Top Students In Art And Music

By Jed Nitzberg

Release Date: May 6, 1998

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Eleanor V. Millonzi, a longtime organizer and supporter of the arts in Buffalo, has created an exciting opportunity for the University at Buffalo to recruit and educate the best artists/scholars-in-training.

Millonzi has donated $250,000 to endow the Robert I. and Eleanor V. Millonzi Distinguished Honors Scholarship. Her late husband, Robert Millonzi, graduated from the UB School of Law in 1935. He chaired the UB Council from 1978-1981.

The scholarship will enable UB to recruit an outstanding student in art or music who also has demonstrated significant academic ability. The scholarship will be awarded to an incoming freshman once every four years, and will cover all of the student's expenses (tuition, fees, books, personal expenses, transportation) throughout his or her four years at UB, thus allowing total focus on creative studies.

The first recipient of the scholarship is Eric Anspach of North Tonawanda, who will enter UB in the fall. A flutist, he is a senior at North Tonawanda High School.

"Eleanor Millonzi is a special part of the UB family," said UB President William R. Greiner. "A leading patron of the arts in Western New York, she has helped to secure the region's cultural heritage for generations to come.

"The UB community is very fortunate and very grateful for this scholarship endowment," Greiner added. "Eleanor's commitment to the arts and to UB will mean a great deal to many future students, as it does to the university, and to me."

In order to award the first scholarship for Fall 1998, Millonzi has made an additional gift of $12,000 for immediate use. This will give the endowment time to grow and generate the income necessary to fund future scholarships.

"The arts in Buffalo and education have both been an important part of my life," said Millonzi. "I am pleased that this gift will provide continuing support for the arts at the university."

Millonzi has been active in the Buffalo-area arts community for many years. She has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles with the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Amherst Saxophone Quartet and many other non-profit organizations.

In recognition of her efforts, the UB Alumni Association in 1987 presented her an award for public service as a patron of the arts. In 1995, she was awarded the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, the university's highest tribute. Robert Millonzi was awarded the medal in 1983.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen by a panel of distinguished members of the Western New York arts community from both inside and outside the university. To qualify, a student first must meet the Honors Program's admission standards for creative arts students: a combined Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of at least 1230 and a high-school grade-point average of at least 90. The panel then will review the student's portfolio of work or an audition performance.

"The timing of the gift is wonderful," said David Felder, chair of the UB Department of Music. "We are improving our music-performance focus and we want to attract students who are scholars, as well as performers."

Felder explained that most music schools and conservatories have programs designed to train performers to fill the ranks of orchestras and other performance groups. The training is extremely technical and rigorous, but leaves students with less academic preparation.

UB's approach is an equal blend of academic instruction and professional music training. Felder emphasized that with a tight job market for musicians, students who have a strong academic background will not only be well-rounded, productive performance professionals, but they also will have other career options they can pursue if necessary.

Paul McKenna, chair of UB's Department of Art, predicted the gift will enhance UB's ability to compete nationally for the best students.

"We compete for students with some of the best programs. There have been a number of students that we would have liked to have here and that would have come here, but we could not compete with the financial-support packages other institutions were offering," McKenna said.

For information about how you can help support the University at Buffalo, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/giving