An endowed professorship in music funded by an anonymous donor more than a decade ago has been named in honor of Dr. Byron Jensen, professor of music who retired in May, said Dr. Robin Koozer, associate vice president of advancement and chair emeritus of music.
The Dr. Byron Jensen Distinguished Professorship in Music recognizes Jensen’s 19 years of teaching at Hastings College and his continued leadership as conductor and artistic director of the Hastings Symphony Orchestra.
The donor established the endowed fund with a $500,000 gift in 2010 and requested that Jensen be appointed to the position. Upon Jensen’s retirement, the donor asked that the endowed fund be named for the veteran educator to honor him in perpetuity.
“Dr. Jensen has educated and inspired Hastings College students and brought beautiful music to this community for nearly two decades,” Koozer said. “In the naming of the endowed professorship, his outstanding contributions to both students and music consumers throughout the region will be recognized for years to come.”
A current music faculty member who demonstrates excellent teaching and service to students will be named to the position. While no new funds were received, the existing endowment has grown significantly and provides salary support as well as a stipend for professional development.
Jensen taught courses in music history and instrumental music education, oversaw the strings and percussion programs and founded the Hastings College Handbell Choir. He has been conductor and artistic director of the Hastings Symphony Orchestra since 2004.
He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Colorado and his master’s and doctorate from Kansas State University. He has extensive performance experience on electric and string bass, low brass and voice, and has conducted all levels of ensembles from elementary programs to college/community orchestras.
Hastings College is a four-year residential college that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. Hastings’ student-centered initiatives include providing books, an iPad and a two-week study away experience at no additional cost. A block-style semester schedule allows professors and students to focus on fewer classes at a time and promotes hands-on experiences. Discover more at hastings.edu.