Endowment Established by the Prichard Family Foundation Strengthens Baylor University's Efforts to Preserve Traditional Black Music

October 27, 2009

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The Prichard Family Foundation has established the Lev H. Prichard III Traditional Black Music Restoration Endowed Fund, enhancing Baylor University's undertaking of a one-of-a-kind initiative to restore and preserve the profound influence of this genre of music.

Through the Foundation's gift, Baylor's Black Gospel Music Restoration Project will be expanded and increased, ensuring that Baylor University will be a focal point for scholars, choir directors and admirers of traditional black music, alike, sharing this unique storehouse of riches with future generations to come.

"The establishment of the Lev H. Prichard III Traditional Black Music Restoration Endowed Fund provides the tools to capture the Golden Age of black gospel music and pays tribute to a man whose impact on the Baylor family is immeasurable," said Dr. David Garland, interim president of Baylor University. "We are thankful for the generous support of the Prichard family for opening doors in this valuable area of research."

The Golden Age of Gospel Music directly corresponds to the Civil Rights Movement and the period of greatest strength and influence of the African American Church in America. Through this project, Baylor University hopes to garner awareness and appreciation of the powerful contribution of the Gospel artists. Restoring this collection of music also will provide insight into the foundation of the majority of music we enjoy today.

The Prichard family's gift plays a key role to ensure that this project will thrive and grow, spreading the influence of this rich genre of music worldwide.

"The Prichard Endowment positions the Baylor Libraries to continue to build a collection of traditional black music with national significance. Already, we believe Baylor has the largest collection of Black Gospel Music in an academic setting," said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of Baylor University libraries. "The endowment will assure that this work can proceed long-term to preserve records, tapes or whatever media may be at risk in the future."

A concert featuring Christian recording artist and Grammy Award winner Ashley Cleveland marked the celebration of this endowment and paid tribute to the selfless life Lev Prichard III lived.

Prichard was president of Prichard Oil Co. and Apco Minerals and partner in Storm-Prichard Co. He cared deeply for the welfare of his adopted hometown of Corpus Christi and quietly but generously supported a multitude of cultural, educational, human welfare and religious organizations in the area.

Lev, an Alumnus Honoris Causa of Baylor University, and Ella (BA '63) Prichard faithfully supported the university through endowment gifts including the Pruit Memorial Symposium and scholarships for students athletes, journalism majors, Truett students and students from Nueces County; as well as gifts for athletic facilities, Castellaw Communications Center and the libraries. Even more, they established the Prichard Family Foundation in 1998 to support Baptist, Baylor and institutions in Corpus Christi.

The generosity of the Prichard Family Foundation is helping to open windows into the history of a powerful period in America for generations to come to experience.

Contact: Jill Scoggins, Assistant Vice President for Media Communications, 254-710-1964