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Gift of a Lifetime
$5 million gift will support new academic complex for Westminster Choir College, the music school of Rider University

A new academic complex for Westminster Choir College is one giant step closer to becoming a reality. Marion Buckelew Cullen, a former Westminster Choir College trustee, has made a leadership gift of $5 million to support construction of a new academic complex for Westminster. The planned gift is the largest single gift in Westminster Choir College’s history.

“Westminster has greatly benefited from Marion Cullen’s advice and counsel, as well as her advocacy in the community for the past 23 years,” said President Mordechai Rozanski in announcing her gift. “We are profoundly grateful for her extraordinary generosity in supporting Westminster in this way. Her leadership gift will inspire others to support our continuing fundraising efforts for the new building. Once constructed, it will offer Westminster all the functional and technological advantages of a 21st century facility, reflecting the vitality of our new curriculum that prepares a new generation of musicians for leadership and service.”

Recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Westminster, Cullen served on Westminster’s Board of Trustees from 1983 to 1989. She is descendent of two of New Jersey’s oldest families, the Buckelews and the Housels, and a graduate of the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College of Rutgers University, where she majored in English, history and dramatic arts.

“I’ve traveled extensively throughout my life. No matter where I’ve been in the world—whether it was the Presbyterian Church in Egypt or the chapel at West Point, I’ve encountered a Westminster graduate They are undoubtedly the best,” said Mrs. Cullen. “I will always remember attending rehearsals on campus when some of the world’s greatest conductors, such as Leonard Bernstein and Riccardo Muti, came to prepare the students for a major orchestral performance. Receiving an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Westminster was a highlight of my life.”

The new academic complex, which is expected to cost $13 million, will contain large rehearsal and performance spaces, as well as classrooms and studios.

“At the core of Westminster’s program is a commitment to service through music,’ said Robert L. Annis, Westminster’s director and dean. “Marion Cullen, through this generous gift, has enabled us to continue to give the next generation of music leaders their voice, a voice that will serve and inspire the world.”


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