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From the Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Posted: Monday, May 16, 2016

Philanthropy at Work

Our Music Department is now the proud owner of a Mason & Hamlin grand piano, circa 1930, thanks to the thoughtfulness of Sheila King, sister of the late Marvin Stiglitz, and Marvin’s longtime partner, Tom Sadowski, who taught in the School of Education for 15 years.

Moving the piano from its previous home to Rockwell Hall also required the tenacity of Music Department chair and associate professor Emily Boyce and piano technician David Sipos, along with the assistance of Illos Piano Restorations, Moeller Sign and Crane Service, and the Buffalo Police Department.

Marvin Stiglitz was a prominent Buffalo optometrist who passed away in November 2014. Tom, who lived with Marvin for 40 years, said Marvin loved the piano and played it every day.

Sheila King contacted Emily earlier this spring saying they were interested in donating Marvin’s piano to the college. The caveat was that the piano was located on the second floor of the couple’s Buffalo house, and the movers couldn’t get it down the stairs because of a tricky turn. They then got the brilliant idea to move the piano up to the third floor deck and use a crane to lift it out. Unfortunately, the second attempt failed because the crane couldn’t get into the driveway with cars parked on the street.

Before giving up, David and Emily went to the house to see the piano. They both realized it was an absolute gem worth the effort to move. And as it turned out, Tom had a friend in the Buffalo Police Department who arranged to have the street blocked off so that the crane could get into the driveway.

Eventually, everything coalesced, and on April 5, the movers were able to get the piano safely out of the Buffalo house and into Rockwell Hall. The piano is now being cleaned and refurbished so that in the fall it can be used for choral rehearsals.

This story illustrates how philanthropy comes in many different shapes and sizes, all of which make a difference to our students and our campus.

Thanks to all who went the extra mile to make this gift possible!