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September 30, 2020

2020 Annual Meeting Recounts CIM’s Triumphs, Challenges and Spirit


Standing in Mixon Hall: Student Government President Rachel Lauson, Chair Emeritus Richard J. Hipple, President | CEO Paul W. Hogle and Richard & Jean Hipple Scholarship recipient Austin Cruz.
Student Government President Rachel Lauson, Chair Emeritus Richard J. Hipple, President | CEO Paul W. Hogle and Richard & Jean Hipple Scholarship recipient Austin Cruz. Photo by Tara Stephens.

CIM celebrated the tenure of Richard J. Hipple, who completed his term as chair of the Board of Trustees, at its September 23 annual meeting – virtually attended by over 100 Trustees, Governing and Voting Members, faculty, staff and students.

In a powerful look at the past five years, students, faculty, alumni, staff and Trustees reflected on ten of the most significant accomplishments of Hipple’s tenure, demonstrating the impact that these key initiatives have already had, and will have, for decades to come. Among many other achievements, Hipple’s leadership empowered CIM to:

  • Manage a rapid and comprehensive response to an accreditation challenge that took CIM off notice by strengthening the school’s academic structure and accountability;
  • Create a new strategic plan ­– Blueprint:100 – that maps out seven imperatives the school must address to secure its second century;
  • Lower CIM’s tuition to improve the Institute’s competitiveness and selectivity;
  • Add more than $1 million in gifts to CIM’s Annual Fund;
  • Develop a substantive policy on diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Undertake a comprehensive study of CIM’s size, and recommend continuing to lower enrollment to further raise student selectivity;
  • Improve governance transparency by adding the President of CIM’s Student Government Association as an ex-officio member of the Board;
  • Commission and open the first student housing complex in the school’s history;
  • Embrace a bold capital campaign to provide more scholarships – for which he gave a lead gift of $1 million to establish the Jean and Richard Hipple Dean’s Scholarship; and
  • Weather the challenges of a global pandemic in a way that put CIM’s people (students and employees) first, and craft the best-possible education in the face of immeasurable challenges.

“I first met Dick Hipple in 2016 when I was fortunate enough to join him for a long, lingering dinner during one of my interviews,” said President & CEO Paul W. Hogle. “I learned three key things that evening. First, Dick believes in CIM exceptionalism – our students, our faculty, the Institute’s remarkable past and limitless future potential. Second, Dick has a pragmatic, engineer’s mind that brilliantly sees structures that aren’t apparent to the layperson, knows how to design under constraints, and understands trade-offs – perfect attributes for CIM at this time in its history. Finally, at dinner and every day since, I admired Dick’s capacity to be selflessly, joyfully generous. Every time CIM had a philanthropic need, Dick Hipple set the pace. This is leadership and this is the Dick Hipple I have been privileged to know.”

Close up photo of Dr. Susan RothmannSusan A. Rothmann, PhD, accepting the baton from Hipple, was unanimously elected by the Trustees as the new Board chair. Rothmann was first elected to the Board in May 1986, is immediate past chair of the development and centennial committees and has contributed to the work of the marketing and academic affairs committees, among others. She is the Institute's first female Board chair since the legendary Barbara Robinson chaired the CIM Board from 1987 to 1991.

“Dick Hipple is a tough act to follow,” said Rothmann. “When he invited me to consider taking on this role, I immediately recognized that carrying on his leadership is an incredibly daunting task. CIM has undergone nothing short of transformation in the past five years, and I am energized to build on this foundation and partner with President Hogle to secure the future for CIM’s world-class students, alumni, faculty and staff.”

An entrepreneur, clinical researcher and lecturer, Rothmann was founder and chief executive officer of Cleveland’s oldest profitable women-owned in-vitro device manufacturing firm, Fertility Solutions Inc., until the company was sold in April 2020. She remains the company’s laboratory director.

Susan’s stewardship echoes that of her late father, Dr. Bruce Rothmann, who famously served for nearly 20 years as chair of CIM’s development committee during one of the most consequential periods in the Conservatory's storied history, bringing the Annual Fund to the $1 million mark for the first time. Her leadership of the Board’s development committee resulted in gifts exceeding the $2 million mark, doubling the benchmark set by her father.

In Rothmann’s inaugural address as chair, she praised the Institute’s heroic efforts in response to the immediate threat of COVID-19, emphasized the need to remain focused on the serious work of CIM’s mission and the part the Board must play. “Let there be no mistake: CIM stands at a critical crossroad in its storied history. Never has there been more scrutiny of our outcomes by students, parents, accreditation agencies or the classical music world at large. We must demonstrate our resolve to the unrelenting pursuit of our mission to empower the world’s most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and artistic potential. That quest and those dreams, CIM students repeatedly and passionately tell us, are to become professional classical musicians.”

Faculty Emeritus

Judy Bundra, PhD, Chief Academic Officer & Dean, honored three CIM faculty members with the title Faculty Emeritus, recognizing their outstanding teaching and service to the Institute over many years.

  • Pianist and alumna Olga Radosavljevich, known to all as “Miss Olga,” began teaching in CIM’s Preparatory Division in 1960, and countless prep and conservatory students benefited from her instruction until her retirement in 2018.
  • Appointed to the faculty in 1971, pianist, alumnus and inaugural Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient Paul Schenly served as head of CIM’s piano department for 25 years beginning in the late 1980s.
  • Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Bruce Egre, who served on both staff and faculty, was awarded the title posthumously.

Read the full release, including the results of Trustee elections and many accomplishments of CIM’s students, faculty and alumni.