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EMU Foundation

The Lasting Gift of Music

by Jeff Samoray

Michael McGuire

Michael McGuire

Shortly before he died in July 2012 from cancer, Michael McGuire’s friends, colleagues and former students gathered at his home to celebrate his life and his friendship.

McGuire, EMU professor of Music Therapy and director of Eastern’s Music Therapy program, welcomed visitors while in hospice care. Those who gathered sang and played “Sunshine of Your Smile” as a tribute to the man who inspired many students to become professional music therapists.

“It was wonderful to see the students who learned music therapy from Michael now perform for him,” says Diane Winder, professor of cello and head of EMU’s department of Music and Dance. “He used canisters of morphine as maracas. Michael was having the time of his life with people who loved him and people he loved.”

In a career at Eastern spanning 26 years, McGuire not only helped develop the undergraduate Music Therapy program into one of the largest and most prominent in the nation, he also helped unify the profession and encouraged many students to address the therapeutic needs of people through music.

As a gesture of extraordinary generosity, McGuire made several bequests to Eastern. These include more than $10,000 to the Stonewall Endowed Scholarship, more than $43,000 to the Michael G. McGuire Music Therapy Endowed Scholarship, and more than $37,000 to create the Roberta W. Justice Music Therapy Endowed Scholarship, in the name of a beloved colleague.

“Michael devoted his life to music therapy and his students,” Winder says. “He always talked about helping students who weren’t as fortunate and he put that into practice. He also had great admiration for Roberta, who had been a loyal friend and colleague for 40 years.”

Justice, a part-time lecturer in the Department of Music and Dance, says McGuire’s gift in her name touched her deeply.

“Michael’s gift says he valued our friendship and the work we did together,” Justice says. “He knew that I wouldn’t be able to create a scholarship like this. It’s an incredible gift that speaks to his belief in collaboration and in giving others credit.
“People should know that underneath Michael’s gruff exterior was a very generous and caring person. He always cared and expected a high level of achievement from his students and from the music therapy profession.”

Terra Merrill, assistant professor of Music Therapy and program director, says McGuire’s generosity serves as an inspiration for all of us.

“Life is short and many of the things we build in our lives go with us,” Merrill says. “Michael’s generosity is part of his legacy. His generosity is a wonderful challenge to everyone to embrace the act of making a bequest. Those gifts continue to have a ripple effect long after our lives end.”

EMU Foundation is located at 112 Welch Hall, 850 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197 Phone: 734.484.1322