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Skidmore College
Skidmore Jazz Institute

Bruce Lundvall – Skidmore Jazz Institute Scholarship Fund

This scholarship fund has been created in memory of Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records and benefactor and friend to the Skidmore Jazz Institute. For more than 28 years, Mr. Lundvall and Blue Note Records helped provide scholarships to promising young students who would otherwise not be able to attend our two-week summer Institute. Donations to this fund will continue that great work and make a difference in the lives of aspiring young musicians.

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In 2004, when Skidmore College presented Mr. Lundvall with an honorary doctorate, the citation noted that he was a “double platinum record executive,” discovering and producing best sellers and Grammy winners, but underscored that he had been lovingly labeled “the last standing gentleman in the music industry” – evidence that nice guys can finish first. 

The following is taken from the citation offered by Dean of Special Programs, Don McCormack:

Your own paradoxes – failed saxophone player, yet music-industry icon, denizen of jazz clubs and smoky after-hour joints, yet dedicated family man – reflects those of jazz itself, which you have called the “soundtrack” of your life. Embodying jazz’s own fusion of tradition and innovation, you have, as promoter of the music you love, balanced reverence for the back catalog with alertness to the cutting-edge: an ear uncannily attuned to new talent.

This combination has enabled you to perform the ultimate balancing act, tiptoeing through corporate minefields to succeed in a business often burdened by losses. Norah Jones, who will sing from this stage (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) in August, is but the most recent example of your ability to discover magical talent that also enables you to balance the checkbook

Your music business odyssey began in marketing at Columbia, and during the next two decades, which saw you rise to the Presidency of CBS Records Domestic Division, Columbia’s jazz roster expanded.  Your spirit lifted the jazz community then, and it still does. You continue to work with and sign an amazing array of stylistically distinctive artists while earning almost every prestigious award in your field.

Jazz lovers are particularly grateful that 20 years ago you met the challenge to resuscitate the legendary, but dormant, Blue Note Jazz, making it once again the world’s most prestigious jazz label. Here, as always, success has been based on your bedrock principle: get the art right and the business will follow; without music in the first place, there is no bottom line.

Bruce, Skidmore College is proud, not only to join others in honoring your many achievements, but to thank you in particular for enriching our community – specifically through Blue Note’s sponsorship of Skidmore’s Summer Jazz Institute.  Next month marks the 18th year that you have provided scholarships to talented and needy students and enabled us to mount a popular series of free concerts. A double-platinum record executive affectionately labeled the “last standing gentleman in the industry,” you give hope that nice guys can finish first.  In gratitude, for all you have given us and so many others, we take great pleasure in conferring upon you today the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.