Monday, July 4, 2016

Ronald A. Crutcher: from Cellist to University President

Ronald A Crutcher, 1989 
It is always heartwarming to see musicians ascending to high places in academia. Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher served as professor of cello and head of the strings department at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1979 to 1988. At age 17, he won the Cincinnati Symphony Young Artist Competition. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Crutcher studied cello at Yale University with Aldo Parisot, serving as Parisot's teaching assistant. Additionally, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, allowing him to study in West Germany with Siegfried Palm and Enrico Mainardi. Crutcher toured throughout Europe and the United States, making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1985. He was a founding member of the Chanticleer String Quartet and performed with the Klemperer Piano Trio, and with the UNCG Piano Trio. He held numerous positions as principal cellist. Among Crutcher’s recordings is the Barber “Sonata for Violoncello and Piano” with the Austrian Broadcasting Company in 1976. In 1979, he was the first cellist to be awarded a DMA from Yale University, after which he joined UNCG faculty.

At UNCG, Crutcher carried a heavy class load of sometimes four to five classes per semester, including Applied Cello (MUS 051), Chamber Music (MUS 396), and Afro-American Music (MUS 344). He was heavily active on faculty committees, including the Academic Cabinet, the School of Music Council, and the Phi Beta Kappa Executive and Fundraising Committee. He also served on the committee to develop a Black Studies minor at UNCG. Within the greater Greensboro community, he served as a board member for the Greensboro Cerebral Palsy Institute, as a member of the Guilford College Board of Visitors, and he served as chairman of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra Committee. Crutcher was a professional consultant for the North Carolina Arts Council and the Chamber Music/New Music Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts.

After serving as acting Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs from 1988-1989 at UNCG, Crutcher was elevated to Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Sadly, in 1990, Crutcher was lured away from UNCG, joining the Cleveland Institute of Music as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Continuing a career of excellence, Crutcher held senior leadership posts at the University of Texas at Austin and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He became President of Wheaton College, where he also was elected chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

In 2015, Ronald Crutcher became President of the University of Richmond, where he continues his career-long commitment to higher education administration. However, Crutcher remains dedicated to his first love – music – serving as a professor in the School of Music at Richmond.

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