Paul Burgett—musician, scholar, teacher, and Vice-president and dean at the University of Rochester (UR)—has died after a brief illness. He was 72.
Burgett, who arrived at the University’s Eastman School of Music in 1964 from St. Louis as a first-year student, became one of Rochester’s most prominent and beloved figures.
“It is my sad duty to inform you that Paul Burgett has passed away after a brief illness,” writes Richard Feldman, UR President. “No person in the worldwide University of Rochester’s community is more beloved than Paul Burgett. No brief statement—actually, not even a lengthy obituary—could capture the full extent of Paul’s profound contributions to this university.”
Burgett advised four University presidents and numerous cabinet colleagues on a wide variety of issues, was general secretary to the Board of Trustees, and was a leader in the Rochester community for decades.
“Paul accomplished what we all strive for: He leaves the University a better institution and Rochester a richer community for his presence,” Feldman said.
Burgett was an advocate for the history and creativity of black classical musicians and composers. He championed the Gateways Music Festival, a multiday series of concerts, performances, and other events designed to provide classical musicians of African descent a performance showcase of their own. He helped nurture and strengthen the festival’s ties to the Eastman School of Music; at the time of his death he was chair of the Gateways Board of Directors.
In 2016, the University named the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center. That honor evoked several essential things about Paul: his involvement in all facets of student life, his deep commitment to issues of diversity and inclusion, his fascination with exploring other cultures in his travels with Kay, and his love of the arts, especially music.
“Like the rest of the University of Rochester community, I will miss Paul greatly. We can honor his memory by doing what we can to respect, support and affirm every member of the University community,” Feldman wrote.
Messages of condolence to be shared with Paul’s family can be sent to his friend and longtime assistant at the University, Kim Truebger, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or in hard copy to Box 270011, University of Rochester, Rochester 14627-0011.
Remembrances can also be shared on a special memorial website for Paul: www.rochester.edu/news/remembering-paul-burgett
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