The University of West Florida celebrated a $170,000 donation to UWF Dr. Grier Williams School of Music in support of the Larry Butler Memorial Music Scholarship Fund on Monday, June 12, at Flora-Bama in Perdido Key. The new funds are a result of a Music City Hit-Makers fundraising concert at the Saenger Theater Pensacola in November.
Members of the Hit-Makers, and representatives from the Frank Brown International Foundation for Music and UWF’s Larry Butler Memorial Music Scholarship Fund joined forces to present the concert. Backed by a Foo Foo Festival grant and generous local individual and business sponsors, more than $170,000 was raised for the scholarship fund.
The Larry Butler Memorial Music Scholarship was created in 2015 by Peggy Butler in memory of her husband, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer, and Pensacola native. The scholarship provides financial assistance to UWF music students as they complete their degree programs and provides them the opportunity to travel to work with world-class artists and attend competitions, conventions and performances.
“The generous gift that Peggy Butler has provided the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music has been transformative for our students,” said Corey McKern, interim director of the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music. “Like Larry Butler, whose dreams started in Pensacola, our students are able to launch themselves into the greater world of music because of Peggy’s vision, dedication and hard work. Our students, who might not have been able to seek certain opportunities due to financial limitations, are able to bolster their career and musicianship. I speak for our entire faculty when I say thank you!”
The Butler family and friends have raised more than $250,000 to support the Dr. Grier Williams School of Music. Nearly $113,000 in scholarships have been awarded from the fund.
“Larry was passionate about music and its power to bring people together,” Butler said. “He would be so proud of our community’s continued commitment to showcasing the arts and supporting the next generation of music artists through the Larry Butler Memorial Music Scholarship at UWF.”
Larry Butler worked with renowned recording artists Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers, among others, during his career in Nashville, and displayed his generosity by holding various benefit concerts for his hometown and Northwest Florida.
The Frank Brown International Foundation for Music produces the 39 year old Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival annually. The event hosts Grammy Award-winning and rising stars, who perform original songs in multiple locations in the greater Pensacola area. It attracts over 200 songwriters and thousands of attendees from all around the world.
For more information about giving to UWF, visit uwf.edu/give.
For more information about UWF’s Dr. Grier Williams School of Music, visit uwf.edu/music.