Gift by Theatre Department Employee Bridges Artistic Boundaries

Jimmy BrimerJames T. (Jimmy) Brimer, musical director at the University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre, is making a financial contribution that will support the widely varied arts that make up musical theater.

As part of the Family Campaign, Brimer created a new scholarship in Theatre, using the money he had received as the 2007 recipient of the Lorayne W. Lester Award, given by the UT Knoxville College of Arts and Sciences to a faculty or staff member demonstrating outstanding service to the college, the university, or the community.

His gift is part of the Campaign for Tennessee, a $1 billion fundraising effort that was officially launched on April 17 at the University of Tennessee.

The Brimer Scholarship will be unique in that it is not for a music student but for an undergraduate Theatre student having an interest in music performance or production and showing aptitude in these areas. In his many years working with students at the Clarence Brown Theatre, Brimer has helped hundreds of young performers to realize their talents, and in the process, he has gained a deep understanding of their need for financial support.

Starting next year, the Brimer Scholarship will provide roughly $2,100 per year to help an aspiring student in musical theater with the costs incurred in exploring their interest in the field that long ago captured his heart. In explaining his reason for contributing his prize money for the scholarship, Brimer said "it was time to give back."

The Campaign for Tennessee — the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history — places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.

The campaign, which launched its silent phase in 2005, will secure private gifts that, in turn, will contribute substantially to the distinct, but linked, campuses comprised by the University of Tennessee system. Funds raised through the campaign will directly support the objectives of UT’s strategic plan, as outlined by UT President John Petersen. Among those objectives are improved student access and success, research and economic development, outreach and globalization.