During a record-setting homecoming weekend, the peak of the action occurred on Friday evening with the unveiling of Marietta College’s music therapy program facilities, housed inside of the McKinney Mass Media building.
“This program will attract new students and bolster opportunities for current music majors. The college will now be able to support students who wish to pursue board certified music therapy and work to improve the psychological and physiological functioning in a variety of settings” President Bill Ruud said.
The million-dollar project took contractor Grae-Con Construction just under 11 months to complete and included classrooms, observation rooms, and recording space. The project was funded by alums Don and Leslie Ritter; who saw the project through from its infancy. The Ritters were on hand to reveal the renovations and to thank all who played a role in the project.
“Everyone here is ready to thank us, but really what we’re trying to do is thank you” Don Ritter said.
Music Therapy is a health profession that utilizes musical intervention during therapeutic treatment for physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. It is one of the fastest growing medical professions and as a result is a position many hospitals, rehab facilities, and schools are in search of.
Yadira Albornoz, one of the country’s few individuals with a Ph.D in music therapy, has been hired to direct the program. Albornoz has built the curriculum for the program which will be voted on for approval by the college curriculum committee. She is currently teaching an introductory music therapy course to six Marietta College students who will begin pursuing a degree in music therapy next year.
New students will begin filling slots in the music therapy program in 2018. Further funding will be supplied by the Ritters, and by 1972 grad Ron Rinard. The Ritters and Rinard have committed a total of $650,000 to $130,000 every year over the next five years and are dedicated to making the music therapy program at Marietta College a nationally acclaimed program.
“We found that this is a way that we can leave a nice legacy and show stewardship by leaving a gift of something we are really passionate about and that is music” Leslie Ritter said