Music and memories: Brocks’ support of UNT music spans more than 50 years

By: 
Meredith Dickenson

On a spring day, busloads of middle school students stream into the Murchison Performing Arts Center for a band festival. There on a separate mission, donors Euline (’74 Ph.D.) and Horace Brock take in the noisy scene, happy to be surrounded by the things they love: the Murchison, with its grand lobby that bears their names, and young musicians.

UNT’s College of Music holds a special place in their hearts. In 1954 as new faculty members, the Brocks met at UNT and went to concerts on dates.

“It’s always been so central to us,” says Euline. “We give out of gratitude, but also people around the world know about the university because of the College of Music.”

To make that point, Euline likes to tell the story of the Brock family returning to Denton in 1969 from living overseas in Istanbul. They stopped in Vienna.

“We went to the opera and the male lead was Bill Blankenship (’50) of UNT,” says Euline, still awed by the memory. “In the Vienna State Opera in 1969!”

For many years, Horace Brock taught accounting at UNT and served as interim dean of the College of Business. Euline became active in local politics and civil rights. She served three terms as the mayor of Denton.

Music is not the only area of campus that benefits from the Brocks’ generosity. Athletics, the Honors and Business colleges, UNT Libraries and the Emerald Eagle Scholars program have received gifts from them as well.

Their support for the College of Music, however, reflects a strategy on their part to make as big an impact as possible on UNT’s flagship program. The Euline and Horace Brock Merit Scholarships supported 22 students last year in majors ranging from music education to jazz studies to conducting. In 2008, the Brocks also established the Brock Endowment for Strings, a scholarship that covers the full cost of attending UNT for an outstanding string player.

“The Brocks have understood for a long time the challenge of competing to attract the very best students and the role of merit-based scholarships in meeting this challenge,” said James Scott, dean of the College of Music. “Their generosity knows no limits. We are forever indebted to their vision for helping the College of Music. Not only do they provide critically important funding, but they also provide friendship and mentoring to these students often long after they have graduated from UNT.”

Doctoral student and violinist Leah Greenfield from Philadelphia is a recipient of the Brocks’ strings scholarship, studying under UNT Professor Julia Bushkova.

“I’m unbelievably grateful,” Greenfield says. “Because of their support, the doctorate experience has been so much easier, helping me focus on what I love to do and what I need to do to make a profession of playing the violin.”

David Shrader, former dean of the College of Music, named the Murchison lobby after them for their support of the college. Today, at least once or twice a week, as they have for more than 50 years, you can find the Brocks attending concerts there, especially UNT operas.

“Having the College of Music here has enriched our lives,” says Euline. “By giving to it, we bring together our interests in scholarships because students need them and our love of music and respect for the College of Music for what it does for the university as a whole.”

 

Above, Horace and Euline (’74 Ph.D.) Brock in the UNT Murchison Performing Arts Center.