bill-3When Bill Koutsky saw Dave Marck and his jazz quartet perform in 2014, he immediately knew he wanted to bring them to Winona State University.

As an added bonus, Koutsky decided to use the opportunity as a way to raise money for WSU music students as well.

“Bill is one of the most considerate student centered donors I know,” said WSU Foundation Coordinator Jennifer Hoffman. “When he learned that WSU students were raising money to participate in a unique real time experience at the Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans, he jumped at the chance to make a difference.”

Koutsky, a WSU retiree and alumnus, agreed to match any funds raised by the quartet’s performance at WSU in September 2016 and donate the money to help 20 WSU music and jazz students attend the Jazz Education Network Conference in New Orleans, La. Jan. 4-7, 2017. The event raised a total of $2,669, which Koutsky matched, for a grand total of $5,338.

Now, thanks to Koutsky’s donation, combined with funds from the WSU Student Senate, club fundraising, and a Special Projects Grant from the WSU Foundation, the club’s trip will become a reality.

“Students will have the opportunity to hear professional performances by modern jazz luminaries, as well as hearing many of their peer groups from other colleges perform. There are a number of clinic/workshop opportunities, as well as jam sessions for our students to participate in,” said Music Professor Rich MacDonald. “The JEN organizers have employed several of the top players in the area to showcase at the conference as well.”

According to MacDonald, Koutsky has been an avid supporter of the Department of Music. providing scholarships for music students as well as educating students on the importance of philanthropy.

“I gave him the nickname ‘The Closer’ for all the positive influence he had on visiting prospective students,” MacDonald said. “He always makes a point of letting the students know that at some point they, too, should look to pay it forward for future Winona State students.”

MacDonald said Koutsky’s most recent donation through the Dave Marck performance will have a real impact on students.

“Students are the life-blood of this institution. The more quality experiences we can provide for them, the better their education will be. I have spoken to so many alumni over the years who have fond memories of WSU and many of them related to out-of-class experiences like the one we are putting together in New Orleans,” MacDonald said.

To make a contribution to WSU, contact the WSU Foundation at 507-457-5020.

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Samantha Stetzer

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