ORANGEBURG, SC — South Carolina financier Darla Moore has given $1 million to the department of music at Claflin University.
Moore says she became a fan of the university’s music program when she heard its concert choir sing two years ago at the opening of the Dr. Ronald McNair Life History Center in her hometown of Lake City.
She became friends with choir director Isaiah McGee, inviting the group back to Lake City for two more appearances. The choir’s version of Handel’s “Messiah” sparked Moore to ask McGee what she could do to support his talented musicians.
On Tuesday, Moore, a frequent donor to USC, went to the Orangeburg school to announce her $1 million gift, the Darla D. Moore Endowed Scholarship Fund.
The contribution from Moore comes as the university conducts one of the most ambitious capital campaigns in its 143-year history.
The school kicked off the $96 million Campaign for Claflin in the summer of 2011 to raise funds to strengthen its nationally accredited academic programs. The money also will be used to build a state-of-the-art science and technology center and to pay for scholarships and financial aid.
Claflin’s music department has about 60 students in its choir, wind ensemble and jazz band.
Non-music majors also have opportunities to perform in a variety of ensembles, including the renowned University Concert Choir, the University Wind Ensemble and the University Jazz Band. Students present annual concerts in classical, jazz and world music.