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There is a way to save Westminster Choir College

Why can’t some kind of jointly-operated music school be developed with Princeton University? Why not a newly-contoured school where students are chosen for admission based on their musical abilities, where the degrees they receive come from either Rider or Princeton, depending on where they matriculate? Westminster Choir College is too wonderful a place to let slip down the drain. It is the crown jewel of choral music schools and of our community.

There is at least one precedent for a shared university institution, where participating institutions specifically grant degrees. Indiana University and Purdue University jointly operate Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), which has its own campus in Indianapolis.


IUPUI is led by a chancellor, currently Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar. IUPUI was formed in 1968 after then-Mayor Richard Lugar called for establishing a single state university in Indianapolis, with both Indiana and Purdue operating in Indianapolis. From this premise, Indiana and Purdue, each commanding their strengths, established a new, bifurcated institution.

My husband was once an adjunct professor at IUPUI teaching Classical Studies. When we were there, degrees granted in the humanities carried the name of Indiana University on its diplomas. Faculty in the humanities received paychecks from Indiana University. Conversely, on the science side, diplomas and paychecks bore the name of Purdue. Twenty years ago, at least, this division of mutual respect comfortably remained as IUPUI continued to evolve.

So, let’s look at Westminster Choir College with new eyes and a new creative solution that can enhance the choral offerings and prestige of several institutions.

Kip Cherry is a resident of Princeton, NJ. Kip can be reached at