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April 24, 2019

CIM Celebrates Patron Clara Rankin & Showcases Talented Students at Benefit Concert


Clara T. Rankin

It was a night filled with beautiful music, flowers and celebrating the altruistic legacy of Clara T. Rankin, who, at 102, is still actively supporting a host of causes that are important to her – including the Cleveland Institute of Music.

A Legacy in Bloom, a benefit concert and gala presented by the CIM Women’s Committee, was held recently at the Cleveland Museum of Art to honor Rankin and her leadership of CIM’s unparalleled music training in Cleveland. Prior to the concert she received the Women’s Committee Distinguished Service Award for her extensive, wide-ranging support of CIM.

“Clara Rankin is a remarkable woman. Her influence and expertise contributed both to the selection of legendary pianist Victor Babin as president in 1961, and the fundraising for CIM’s permanent campus in University Circle,” said President and CEO Paul W. Hogle. “Along with the Board of Trustees and Women’s Committee – among many others in the community – she has worked tirelessly to ensure students have opportunities to pursue their dreams of becoming the world’s most talented classical musicians.”

The celebration highlighted the full spectrum of student accomplishments, from the CIM Orchestra being led by a student conductor to an alumna and three student soloists performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and Cello in B minor, to student chamber ensembles and a dramatic pop-up performance of Simple Gifts from Appalachian Spring in the middle of the reception to the joy and delight of guests.

More than $250,000 was raised for student scholarships during the evening through live and silent auctions and corporate support from Hyster-Yale and NACCO Industries, who were presenting sponsors for the event.

Rankin has a long, storied history with CIM, from voice student to trustee herself. She received her first lessons at the Institute after World War II. A lyric soprano, she studied with Marie Simmilink Kraft, head of CIM’s vocal department from 1946-61, taking her lessons in one of CIM’s early incarnations on Euclid Avenue.

Clara joined the Board in 1951, serving until 2004 when she was elected Trustee Emerita, a capacity in which she continues to actively fulfill today.

Throughout its rich 85-year history, the CIM Women’s Committee has dedicated time and talents to support CIM students in the tradition of the women of the Fortnightly Musical Club who banded together to found CIM in 1920. From preparing Thanksgiving dinners for students who spend the holiday in Cleveland and helping offset travel costs for auditions and competitions to creating fundraising events like A Legacy in Bloom that support critical scholarships, the members of the Women’s Committee are devoted to helping CIM students succeed.

Today the Women’s Committee is led by President Marilyn Cordial Mincer. Chair of the event was Jean Koznarek, the organization’s first vice president.

“I am very grateful for the time and commitment the members of the Women’s Committee give to our students,” Hogle said. “Like the women of the Fortnightly Musical Club, they are forward-thinking, dedicated women who know our students are the future of classical music.”

As for Clara Rankin herself, whether it’s been as a student, trustee or avid supporter, her affection for CIM will always be her lasting legacy.