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Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music

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Title: Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music  
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Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music

The Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music is located on the eastern side of The University of Texas at Austin.

With over 100 faculty members and more than 750 students, the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music ranks among the top 3% in the country.

The school was founded in 1914 and started teaching graduate courses in 1924. In 1938 it had a faculty of nine and was led by Dr. Ezra William Doty and doctoral level degrees were offered.

Present facilities date to 1968 with the construction of Music Building East. In 1980 construction of Music Recital Hall, now known as Bates Recital Hall, seating 700, was added to Music Building East, united the entire school in one building complex. McCullough Theatre, seating 400, is used by the Butler Opera Center and other concerts and Jessen Auditorium, in the old Music Building across campus, seating 300, is used for recitals and chamber music concerts. The Butler School is led by Dr. Mary Ellen Poole.

Sarah and Ernest Butler

The School of Music was renamed in honor of the Butlers following 25 years of philanthropic support to the school and a donation of $55 million in the spring of 2008. The endowment is one of the largest ever given by private donors to a university, and is the second largest for a music school (second only to the Yale School of Music).

As stated in the official University of Texas press release (dated March 18, 2008):

"Since 1983, the Butlers have created nine endowments in the School of Music to support students, faculty and programs. In 2004, the School of Music named its opera program after the couple in appreciation of their $2 million endowment for the opera theatre program.

Dr. Butler is a retired physician, who specialized in otolaryngology [ear, nose, and throat]. He is a member of Board of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and past treasurer and trustee of the Texas Medical Association Foundation. Mrs. Butler is chairwoman of the Ballet Austin Board of Directors, a member of the Blanton Museum Council, and a member of the university’s Development Board. The Butlers are members of the university’s Chancellor’s Council, President’s Associates and the Texas Exes.

In addition to supporting the Music School, the Butlers have been major donors to local arts organizations, including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary Austin Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Austin, the Austin Opera, and Houston Grand Opera in Houston, Tx.

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