by Pamela Young, Published August 04, 2015
YPSILANTI – Over the years, philanthropists William (Bill) and Delores (Dee) Brehm have kept special education and Eastern Michigan University, Dee’s alma mater, as an important part of their lives.
The Brehms, longtime supporters of Eastern Michigan, recently donated $3.26 million to support students in special education and music therapy. Their gifts to Eastern now total more than $8.5 million, making them the largest individual donors to the University in its history.
“We are extremely grateful to Dee and Bill for their ideas and their generosity,” said Mike Morris, chairman of the EMU Board of Regents. “Our special education and music therapy programs are known nationally, and the Brehms’ latest donations are designed to significantly enhance the opportunities for our students in these programs.”
“These gifts will both strengthen our academic programs and provide scholarships for outstanding students in the College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences,” said Kim Schatzel, interim president, provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs at Eastern Michigan University. “We acknowledge the efforts of the University’s leadership who bring alumni like Dee Brehm back to the campus and engage them in the outstanding work taking place at Eastern Michigan University.”
Dee Brehm, herself a graduate of EMU’s special education program, says that their objective is to help train special education professionals and researchers who will lead the way in supporting people with disabilities as well as those who can benefit from music therapy. The new donations will accomplish the following:
• Expand the Delores Soderquist Brehm Center for Special Education Scholarship & Research by increasing the annual program of one-year full-tuition scholarships and student-faculty research partnerships from eight to ten Brehm Scholars.
• Establish the Delores Soderquist Brehm Endowed Research Fellowship in Special Education program, which will support two fellowships annually for Brehm Scholars and afford them the opportunity for further advancement of Special Education research and best practices.
• Establish the Delores Soderquist Brehm Endowed Fellowship in Music Therapy, which will support two fellowships annually for outstanding Music Therapy students during their senior year of clinical work and internship.
“This donation to our program is so exciting,” said Phil Smith, professor of special education and director of the Brehm Center for Special Education Scholarships and Research. “Dee and Bill have long committed themselves to creating the next generation of leaders in the special education field. This latest gift extends that commitment by supporting transformational scholarship and research at Eastern Michigan that will change the face of education for generations to come.”
Theresa Merrill, associate professor and director of music therapy at EMU, said, “I am grateful for the Brehms’ vision of connection and coordination, and for their role in shaping the present and future of our music therapy program. Eastern Michigan’s undergraduate music therapy program is highly selective and rigorous, and one of only two accredited programs in Michigan. Part of its mission is to serve individuals of all abilities, through clinical education, training, and an on-campus music therapy center. The Delores Soderquist Brehm Fellowships in Music Therapy will now support our finest students through their senior year and a 1,000-hour internship. The support from the Brehms creates important links between programs that serve individuals, colleges at Eastern Michigan University, and other institutions.”