Wartburg Receives $1 Million Gift to Enhance Music Education

Wartburg College has received a $1 million gift to create a distinguished professorship in music education.

Wartburg President Darrel D. Colson announced the establishment of the Eugene and Ruth Weidler Drape Distinguished Professorship in Music Education during the college’s Opening Convocation this morning.

The position was created with a gift from the late Eugene Drape, of Waverly, through an endowed fund and additional funds from his estate. The gift is part of the college’s upcoming comprehensive campaign, Transforming Tomorrow.

Drape established the endowed fund in memory of his wife, Ruth Weidler Drape, celebrating her passion for music, faith and community. Ruth Drape graduated from Wartburg in 1958 with a degree in music education and later taught music in schools and churches. She died in 2002.

“From the moment I met Gene, I quickly grew to admire him,” said Darrel Colson, Wartburg president. “He was the model for community engagement. He generously gave of his time and his resources to make Waverly and Wartburg even better. When I talk to young people about the lives they should live, I’ll hold up Gene as an example we should all take to heart.”

Scott Muntefering, assistant professor of music education, will hold the distinguished professorship, which commences with the 2014-15 academic year. This position becomes the 19th endowed chair or professorship at Wartburg and the fourth established as part of the Transforming Tomorrow campaign.

“The distinguished professorship provides support for my ongoing research in the many fields of music I am currently involved in, from instrumental music education to trumpet pedagogy to my research into American band history,” Muntefering said. “I also am very excited about the opportunities we hopefully will be able to provide for our students, including inviting professional music educators, performers and conductors to campus to share their knowledge and experience.”

Music education is one of Wartburg’s largest, most successful academic majors with 100 percent of the program’s graduates finding jobs in the field.

Eugene Drape worked in engineering, manufacturing and management with Philco Ford, Ford Aerospace, Pitney Bowes, Apex Corporation and Outokumpu Copper Franklin Inc., where he served as president and general manager. He retired in 2000, returning to the Waverly area to farm with his brother.

He served on the boards of Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, Waverly Light and Power and the Wartburg Business Administration and Economics National Advisory Board. In 2011, he received the Wartburg Medal, recognizing his leadership and service to the college.

Eugene Drape died in February. He is survived by two sons, Doug and Chris, both of the Seattle area, and four grandchildren, including Zach, now at Wartburg.
“Wartburg held a special place in our parents’ hearts and was an important part of their life in Waverly,” said Doug and Chris Drape. “Our father initiated the gift to honor our mother’s life and love of music, and we are humbled to be able to pass on this tangible gift to honor the legacy of both of our parents.”