Berry Gordy Donates $5 Million to UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Berry Gordy UCLA
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Berry Gordy UCLA
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Photo Credit: Berry Gordy / TGC Management

Motown founder Berry Gordy donates $5 million to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music to establish the UCLA Berry Gordy Music Industry Center.

Berry Gordy, the founder of the iconic Motown Records, has pledged a $5 million donation to establish the UCLA Berry Gordy Music Industry Center at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The new center, launching in the 2024-25 academic year, will position the school’s new music industry degree program as a national leader.

The center will buoy the school’s music industry program, which officially launched in 2023. Initiatives designed to enhance career support, interweaving the music industry program with programs designed to support students as they launch into their music industry careers — especially students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds — will be a key component to the center.

“I’m thrilled to create a center that provides opportunities for students at UCLA to prepare for careers in the music industry,” said Gordy. “Music is powerful, inspiring, universal, crossing over political, cultural, social, and economic barriers. It reaches ALL people and has been the guiding force in my life. These students will be the future innovators, artists, and executives that will lead us through the twenty-first century.”

“This center will position the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music to become the leading music industry program in the world,” said Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of the school of music. “It will help empower us to recruit and attract the best faculty and students, and to conduct research in cutting-edge fields. Thanks to Mr. Gordy’s gift our program will be the leading force in shaping the twenty-first century music industry.”

The center will support the development of new courses and specialized curriculum in songwriting and production, as well as provide funding for the building of partnerships with primary and secondary schools to foster awareness of music industry careers. Research sponsored by the center will focus on the intersection of technology and streaming algorithms with the concerns of social justice.

The Berry Gordy Music Industry Center in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music aims to maintain and expand upon Gordy’s teaching and mentoring legacy. In keeping with the School of Music’s philosophy that “music is best served when performance, academic research, and practical experience are combined,” the center will foster an interdisciplinary approach to creating an industry-integrated experience for its students.