Transformative Gift Adds 120 Scholarships in Honor of SFCM’s Female Founders
Proceeds from the historic sale of the Ann & Gordon Getty Collection will enhance access to SFCM and advance the cause of music at every level.
By Beth Giudicessi
A foundation set up to direct the proceeds of the record-breaking sale of the Ann and Gordon Getty Collection pledged a philanthropic gift to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) that will be the institution’s largest and one of the most significant to any music school. The donation will advance SFCM’s inventive business model and will include resources to create 120 scholarships over the next four years for undergraduate and graduate students of exceptional potential in any area of study—all in the spirit of SFCM’s pioneering female founders Ada Clement and Lillian Hodghead. Each award will range in amount from $20,000 to full tuition and will complement SFCM’s existing financial aid programs.
Mr. Getty is an alumnus of SFCM, an advisor to the SFCM Board of Trustees, and an active classical music composer. Per his request to honor Clement and Hodghead, the awards will be known as the “Founders Scholarships.”
“This monumental act of generosity expands more than a decade of support from the Getty family, who are friends of countless cultural organizations,” said SFCM President David H. Stull. “It represents a profound dedication to art, to education, and to fostering tremendous opportunities for a new generation of musicians and scholars—all characteristics shared with SFCM’s founders.”
As early Bay Area entrepreneurs, Clement and Hodghead were ahead of their time: their bold and spirited approach to education, studying and traveling abroad, the outdoors, and instilling beauty in the community shaped the nation’s cultural heritage. By inviting the highest-caliber musicians to teach on the West Coast, they established a tradition of originality and excellence that continues today.
Hodghead described the school and its community as having resilience and a “spirit of service,” particularly in response to adversity. Fittingly, select Founders Scholarships will include a service component to expand SFCM’s conservatory-in-schools programs—such as Bridge to Arts and Music—that pair collegiate students with underprivileged grade-, middle-, and high-schoolers.
“Music unites our communities, inspires us to achieve, and reminds each of us to be the best version of ourselves. It is essential to our existence, and I hope my investment will inspire others to join us in these efforts,” said Mr. Getty. “The next generation of highly diverse and exceptional artists deserves our support, just as our shared future needs the tremendous gifts they will return to the world.”
Like that of its founders’, the Gettys’ legacy has shaped SFCM’s ability to redefine the nature of education and how it affects the lives of its students and artists, the music industry, and the changing world.
In addition to contributions to SFCM’s endowment and scholarship fund, the Getty family’s capital gifts for the 50 Oak Street and Bowes Center Campaigns transformed the institution’s teaching and performance spaces. In 2021, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music announced that it would rename its 50 Oak Street facility the “Ann Getty Center for Education” in honor of Mrs. Getty.
The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation also supports SFCM’s Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, which partners with 17 news outlets to advance and maintain quality discourse on music.
In addition, Mr. Getty’s recent major opera project Goodbye Mr. Chips, based on the novella of the same name, was developed and recorded at SFCM before giving its world premiere at Festival Napa Valley.
In May 2022, Mr. Getty announced the formation of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts to be supported by the proceeds from the sale of the family’s art collection. In addition to SFCM, designated beneficiaries of it include Conservatory partners San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony.
“We know this auction is going to support many, many artists and students at SFCM,” said student Daniela Gonzalez Siu.
“The sale will honor Ann's remarkable eye for design and storytelling through her exquisite taste, intellect, and curiosity,” Mr. Getty said this spring. “The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for the Arts will leave a legacy for future generations.”
All prospective undergraduate and graduate students for entry in fall 2023 who submit a complete application to SFCM and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or CSS Profile will automatically be considered for Founders Scholarships. Eligibility will be based on merit and/or need. To learn more about the Conservatory’s financial aid programs or to speak with a financial aid counselor, please visit https://sfcm.edu/admissions/cost-financial-aid.