The University of South Dakota, the National Music Museum and the USD Foundation will pay tribute to Marjorie Townsley Rawlins with a program on Friday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. in Colton Recital Hall, which is located at the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts on the USD campus.
Friday's tribute will include performances by the USD Music faculty, including members of the Rawlins Piano Trio, and Professor of Music Susanne Skyrm.
Rawlins, a native of Vermillion, graduated from USD with a B.A. in music in 1942. As a student at The U, Marjorie was president of Pi Beta Phi and met her husband, Robert Rawlins of Pierre, S.D., who graduated from USD in 1940. Together, they moved to California where Robert began a successful career in business and technology development in Palo Alto.
Robert, who died in 1993, and Marjorie, who passed away May 19, never forgot their South Dakota roots. The couple demonstrated their love for USD by endowing several scholarships, including the Rawlins Music Scholarship, the Truran Piano Scholarship and the Rawlins Fellowship. The Rawlins Scholarships, their first major gift to USD, are endowed scholarships that provide financial support to the highest academically-ranked student entering USD as an undergraduate from each of South Dakota's largest 14 high schools.
The Rawlins also served as trustees of the USD Foundation where the Rawlins Society for Planned Giving honors their support of the University. Additionally, the couple played a key role in the development of the National Music Museum at USD funding an acquisition of a major private collection of stringed instruments now known as the Witten-Rawlins Collection. They also funded the Townsley Courtyard and the fountain located in front of the museum. Until her death, Marjorie served as an honorary trustee of the National Music Museum.