A passion for music and appreciation for his alma mater led Bob Bidewell of Little Rock to make another gift to Arkansas State University.
Bidewell recently donated stock valued at more than $100,000 to the ASU Foundation. At his request, proceeds from the sale of the stock will be directed to the department of music to help meet the department’s most pressing needs, at the discretion of the department chair and the dean.
Despite the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bidewell told university representatives that supporting ASU is very important to him and he did not want to wait any longer to make the gift, the most recent to the academic area in which he earned two degrees.
“The education I received from the department of music at Arkansas State University gave me the skills to be a teacher and performer,” Bidewell said in a statement. “What I gained from my time at A-State is still in my heart, mind and soul. I’m thrilled by the quality of the programs within the department, and I am honored to present this gift to be used as needed to help that growth and quality continue.”
Dr. Lauren Schack Clark, interim department chair, said it is difficult to fully express just how much the music students and faculty appreciate Bidewell’s generosity.
“I have only known Bob for only a short time, but those who have known him longer say he’s a wonderful person and a gifted musician,” Clark said. “The gift is especially appreciated because he is allowing us to determine our greatest needs. This could not have come at a more convenient time. Music study presents special challenges with social distancing, so our first priority is obtaining the best possible technology and equipment to help us with safety during these unprecedented times.”
Dr. Carl Cates is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, which oversees the music department.
“Bob Bidewell continues to be a great friend to the arts and especially to the Department of Music at A State,” Cates said. “His generous gifts have improved campus facilities and educational opportunities for years. I thank him for his exemplary record.”
Bidewell completed a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education in 1976 and a master’s degree in music education in 1977.
As a resident of central Arkansas, he continues to stay highly involved in music. He plays clarinet with the Little Rock Winds, performs in theater productions with Argenta Community Theater and serves as a piano accompanist for many choral programs in central Arkansas schools.
A longtime benefactor of the department of Music, Bidewell’s previous gifts include a $25,000 gift in 2011 and a $15,000 gift for the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall renovation in 2017.