Purdue FW Sweetwater Music Center dedicated

Purdue Sweetwater Music Center entrance
Purdue Sweetwater Music Center entrance. Photo courtesy of Purdue University/Sweetwater.

News release from Purdue University Fort Wayne:

Dedication Ceremony Held for New Purdue Fort Wayne Sweetwater Music Center

(August 13, 2018) — Purdue University Fort Wayne and Sweetwater Sound executives today dedicated and officially opened the Purdue Fort Wayne Sweetwater Music Center on the Sweetwater corporate campus in Fort Wayne. The new facility houses the university’s popular music industry program that is a part of its new School of Music.
The new center will welcome its inaugural group of students and faculty when classes begin on August 20. Made possible through the financial support of Sweetwater Founder and CEO Chuck Surack and his wife, Lisa, the center will serve as the primary location for Purdue Fort Wayne students pursuing one of two new majors—a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry or a Bachelor of Science in Popular Music, as well as the Bachelor of Science in Music with a concentration in Music Technology that has been part of the curriculum.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and a significant boost for our new School of Music,” says Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, chancellor of Purdue Fort Wayne. “We are very grateful to Chuck and Lisa Surack for their generosity and we look forward to educating the next generation of music industry leaders, producers, creators, and performers in this impressive new facility.”
The 8,000-square-foot facility, located just south of Sweetwater’s headquarters building on Kroemer Road, was renovated and transformed into a state-of-the-art learning center with studios, classrooms, and other teaching spaces. Designed by the Russ Berger Design Group, Inc., it includes a world-class recording studio with adjacent teaching lab, isolation booths, editing suites, a student musical collaboration center, an equipment library, classrooms, conference rooms, and administrative offices.
Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater contributed to the project in two ways. They provided $1.6 million for the build-out of the facility, which the university will reimburse over a six-year period in the form of a lease. In addition, Purdue Fort Wayne is receiving a gift-in-kind in the amount of just under $1.5 million, based on the Suracks not charging any interest or rent for the building. Students and faculty will also be able to enjoy the many benefits of the Sweetwater campus, from its recording studios to the amenities that its employees take advantage of including the Downbeat Diner, Crescendo Café, Health Club, and more.
“We see this as a win-win situation for Sweetwater and Purdue Fort Wayne,” said Chuck Surack, Sweetwater founder and president. “Not only will Purdue Fort Wayne students get a high-quality music technology education, but they’ll get real world hands-on training in a state-of-the-art facility. We are delighted to be part of this project that will attract students to Fort Wayne and provide career opportunities for them after graduation.”
The Purdue University Fort Wayne School of Music was officially established July 1, 2018, following its approval in December 2017 by the Purdue University Board of Trustees. It is the only school of music in the Purdue University system. The two new majors in music industry and popular music are vital for students seeking employment in the very competitive music industry.
“These new degrees in music industry for recording and production and in popular music for songwriting and performance, all with a focus on the audio and video technology, are extremely important in today’s music productions,” says Gregory Jones, professor and director of the School of Music. “With programs embedded at Sweetwater, this one-of-a-kind partnership between the School of Music and an industry leader in music establishes Purdue Fort Wayne as a leading choice for students.”
In addition to the two new degrees, the School of Music will continue to offer degrees in the existing programs of music performance, music education, and music therapy, plus an international performers certificate. The school also plans to host more national music festivals on the main campus.
“The music program has strong roots so we continue to grow and to flourish,” says John O’Connell, dean of Purdue Fort Wayne’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, which includes the School of Music. “This partnership and this phenomenal space just add another layer of excellence to attract more students and even more talent to Purdue Fort Wayne.”
In addition to funding from Sweetwater, the State of Indiana and the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation have each provided $1 million to the Purdue Fort Wayne School of Music. A significant portion of these funds will be used for equipment and infrastructure for the Sweetwater campus project.


About Purdue University Fort Wayne
Established in 1964 as Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and officially becoming Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2018. it is the largest university in northeast Indiana. As a Metropolitan University, it is uniquely positioned to serve the region as a crossroads of intellectual, social, economic, and cultural advancement and to continue expanding its global reach through research, scholarship, and creative expression. Challenging academics are combined with a focus on student success across many prestigious degree programs, taught by 350 full-time faculty. More than 8,300 degree-seeking students of diverse ages, ethnicities, and nationalities pursue their education on the nearly 700-acre campus. Half of the students are first-generation college students, 15% are from underrepresented populations, and 73% of students receive some form of financial assistance to achieve their academic and career goals. A majority of the growing alumni network of 60,700 live and work in northeast Indiana, contributing to the region’s economy, vitality, and intellectual strength.
About Sweetwater Sound
Founded in 1979, Sweetwater is the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and audio gear in the U.S. The company is respected as the nation’s leading retailer serving musicians, recording studios, broadcast, education, and houses of worship. Sweetwater’s customers can be found everywhere music is heard and audio is played, broadcast, or recorded, including recording, film, and broadcast studios in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami; in hundreds of thousands of home recording studios; and in schools and churches nationwide. Sweetwater’s founding and meteoric growth are built on a knowledgeable and experienced staff, outstanding selection and pricing, and, above all, an unwavering commitment to customer service excellence in every situation.

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