A ceremony will be held Sept. 16 to formally name the University of Georgia’s School of Music in honor of the late Hugh Hodgson, who started the university’s music program and whose name became synonymous with music education and appreciation in Georgia.
The 2 p.m. ceremony will be in the Performing Arts Center in Hodgson Hall, which also is named for the Athens native who in 1928 became UGA’s first music professor and remained on the faculty for 32 years.
The ceremony will include performances by the University Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and pianist Evgeny Rivkin. UGA President Michael F. Adams and Donald R. Lowe, director of the music school, will speak briefly.
Two of Hodgson’s students, Charles Wadsworth and Robert G. Edge, will also speak. Wadsworth was founding artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is artistic director for chamber music of the Spoleto USA Festival. Edge, an Atlanta attorney and arts patron, has been a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera Association and president of the Atlanta Music Festival Association.
Members of Hodgson’s family will attend the ceremony including his son, Daniel B. Hodgson, a retired attorney in Atlanta.
An exhibit in the music school library will include photos, newspaper and magazine clippings, recordings and other memorabilia of Hodgson’s career and life.
Following the ceremony, a reception will be held on the lawn in front of the music building. The ceremony is free and open to everyone interested.
Hodgson, who was born in 1893, graduated from UGA in 1915. After studying music in Germany and music and mathematics in New York, he returned to Athens and in 1925 became musical director of the Lucy Cobb Institute.
His appointment to the UGA faculty three years later is considered the start of the university’s music department. He also was the first chairman of the division of fine arts and was named a Regents Professor of Music by the board of regents.
The school is pleased to recognize Hodgson’s contributions to UGA and to Georgia, according to Lowe.
“The naming of the school for Professor Hodgson is entirely appropriate given the importance and historical significance of his leadership in developing music and the other fine arts within the university and throughout the state,” Lowe says. “The name, Hugh Hodgson School of Music, will serve as a lasting tribute to him and to his work.”
Hodgson developed four degree programs in music including the first graduate degree, a master’s in fine arts in music. He conducted the Men’s Glee Club for 14 years and also conducted an ensemble known as the University Little Symphony for nine years.
He was instrumental in construction of the Fine Arts Building in 1941. The building was the music school’s home for more than 50 years until it moved to the new music building on East Campus in 1995.
Hodgson, who also composed the arrangement for UGA’s alma mater and wrote the words for the fight song “Glory to Old Georgia,” earned the nickname “Johnny Appleseed of music” for his tireless efforts to promote understanding and appreciation of music in Georgia and throughout the Southeast. He helped establish the Atlanta and Savannah symphony orchestras, and he performed and spoke for audiences in many cities. He also started a high school music festival that annually brought promising Georgia high school musicians to UGA, and he also helped start what became the department of music at Georgia State University.
In the late 1920s Hodgson began offering Thursday evening musical programs at UGA known as “Music Appreciation Hour.” The popular event continues today as the School of Music Second Thursday Concert Series.
Hodgson also is credited with discovering artist Lamar Dodd and persuading him to join UGA’s faculty in 1937.