$6.7M for MacPhail Center for Music from former piano student

Minnesota's MacPhail Center for Music received a $6.7 million gift from a former piano student who died this January.

James E. Ericksen passed away at 68 and bestowed the largest gift in MacPhail history. The money will be used to strengthen the organization's general endowment fund, a news release said.

Ericksen is from Edina, Minnesota, an Augsburg College alum, a U.S. Army veteran serving in Germany and worked for the state of Minnesota for 31 years as an auditor.

"James was quiet and reserved, but an extremely polite and punctual individual who was always mindful of the faculty's time and other students' time," one of his instructors, Janet Holdorf said. "The substantial gift he left our organization is incredibly generous, and unexpected, but speaks to the great relationships we have with our students."

MacPhail is a non-profit that serves 13,200 students supports 220 teachers at locations in Minneapolis, White Bear Lake, Chanhassen, Golden Valley and Apple Valley, plus 100 community partnerships across the metro and through MacPhail Online. The Ericksen family also donated an 1800s-era symphonium and a 1914 Steinway piano.

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