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Berklee Bids Farewell to MP&E Dean Don Puluse

Executive Vice President Gary Burton (left) thanks Don Puluse (center) at a July 25 reception marking Puluse's contributions to Berklee. Lee Eliot Berk (right) presented Puluse with a framed commemorative letter of thanks.
Photo by Justin Knight

On July 25, Berklee bid farewll to Don Puluse, dean of the Music Technology Division. Puluse had worked at the college for 17 years, and is responsible for launching and developing Berklee's Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) program, the first of its type at any college. At a reception held in the David Friend Recital Hall, many college leaders and faculty members paid tribute to Puluse and wished him well in his new endeavors.

In his comments, Executive Vice President Gary Burton stated that part of the success of the MP&E program is due to Puluse bringing his sensibilities as a college-educated musician, technical knowledge, and strong leadership skills to the table. MP&E Chair Bill Scheniman reminded everyone that Puluse was the first in the nation to have the foresight to realize that having a recording program as a major at a music college was a logical idea. He cited Puluse's affable personality as one reason for his success at Berklee and in his prior work at CBS Records. "In a business famous for its shifting loyalties," said Scheniman, "I can tell you that Don has no enemies."

Jan Moorhead, chair of the Music Synthesis Department, noted that graduates of the MP&E program have gone on to become key personnel in many facets of the music industry. "Whenever I am at a trade show, I talk to so many people who want to hire our MP&E graduates not only to work for them, but to train their people as well. Don's efforts here have had a notable impact on the music industry."

President Lee Eliot Berk recounted the humble beginnings of recording at Berklee and the transformation that has taken place to make it a peerless program with world- class facilities during Puluse's tenure. He also announced that an MP&E scholarship in Puluse's name is being established. "In partial recognition of all of your achievements, we are pleased to inform you that a scholarship in your name for excellence in music technology will be awarded annually," said Berk. "We wish you all possible success and enjoyment in your future endeavors and will remain grateful for the important contributions you have made to our institution."

Taking the mic, Puluse shared anecdotes about his two careers previous to coming to Berklee. In his first, he was a clarinetist with the U.S. Marine Corps Band assigned to the White House during the Eisenhower administration. In his second, he served as an engineer for CBS Records working on gold and platinum albums with Miles Davis, Sly Stone, Billy Joel, Chicago, Leonard Bernstein, and many others. Puluse thanked all of his faculty members for their efforts and dedication. "MP&E is a powerful division," said Puluse. "Our graduates are succeeding. Our MP&E majors know they will have a future after they leave Berklee."

Puluse stated that he is not retiring, but has not chosen a new endeavor yet. His immediate plans include continuing on the board of governors and as chair of the education division of the Audio Engineering Society.