Johns Hopkins Gazette: September 19, 1994

Robert Pierce to Retire as Peabody's Director
By Dennis O'Shea

Robert O. Pierce, who restored both the academic reputation
of the Peabody Institute and its fiscal health, has announced
his intention to retire as the institute's director.
    Pierce was appointed Peabody's director in 1983 after
two years as dean and acting director of the 137-year-old
institute, a division of the university since 1977. He said
he will step down after the current academic year.
    "As much as I have valued the privilege of serving this
historic and prestigious institution as director for the past
13 years . . .  I must admit to being in need of a change,"
Pierce wrote last week in a letter to the Peabody faculty. "I
have no doubt, though, that change will be good for the
Peabody as well, for new leadership will bring fresh ideas
and renewed energy."
    Pierce, 60, a member of the Peabody faculty since 1958,
took over the directorship at a time when the institute's
endowment was only about $2 million and its conservatory had
faded from the top ranks of American music schools.
    The Peabody endowment is now projected to reach $45
million by 1996.  The conservatory's distinguished faculty
has attracted a record enrollment of about 600 to a school
again considered one of the nation's finest. Peabody students
and young alumni regularly capture top prizes in major music
competitions around the world, including the Tchaikovsky in
Moscow and the Queen Elisabeth in Belgium. Pierce also has
overseen planning and construction of major facilities,
including the institute's renovated concert hall, the Library
and Teaching Building and the new Peabody Inn, headquarters
for Peabody's Elderhostel program.
    "Bob Pierce has provided extraordinary leadership during
very difficult times," said university president Wil-liam C.
Richardson, who came to Johns Hopkins just as the financially
stressed Peabody embarked on a successful 1990 campaign to
stave off extinction with a combination of private gifts and
a generous Maryland state aid package.
    "He has kept the Peabody, its faculty, students and
staff not just on an even keel, but moving ahead on all
fronts," Dr. Rich-ardson said. "He's someone in whom people
have confidence and whom they admire because of his ability
to lead during difficult times. We will miss him greatly."
    "Bob Pierce is a hero in all regards, the
personification of a decent person," said Jacques Schlenger,
a Baltimore attorney and chair of the Peabody Advisory Board.
"He's been indefatigable as a fund-raiser, has always kept
his eyes on the future of     the institution, and been a joy
to work  with."
    Joseph Cooper, provost of Johns Hopkins, said he will
chair a committee to conduct a nationwide search for the
Peabody's next director.
    "It will be enormously difficult to replace someone who
blends artistic judgment, administrative skill, personal
integrity and congenial good humor to such a high degree,"
Dr. Cooper said. "As a professional and a human being, Bob
has left his mark on one of Baltimore's finest institutions
and we are all very much in his debt for what he has achieved
at the Peabody."
    Pierce was principal horn of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra from 1958 to 1982. He earned his bachelor's degree
with high honors from the New England Conservatory of Music
in 1958 and a master's degree there in 1960. He received the
New England Conservatory's Distinguished Alumni Award in

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