Berklee Today

Berklee Beat: Berklee's Helping Hands

Portrait of the late Thayer A. Peck

Thayer A. Peck Scholarship Fund Established to Develop Students with Potential at Berklee

As a young man, music was Thayer A. Peck's life. Ever passionate about jazz, he possessed the talent and the dedication required to pursue a career as a performer. As an accomplished piano player, Peck was in demand and his future looked promising to all who heard him. But fate has a way of interfering. In this case, a drunken driver suddenly and cruelly, ended his life at the young age of 22.

Many decades later, his mother, Dorothy Thayer Peck, wanted to provide support for other young musicians who harbor the same fervor for their music that Thayer felt. Recognizing the acute shortage of funds available for struggling young musicians, she chose to perpetuate the memory of her son's vitality by investing in young Berklee musicians with dreams similar to those her son nurtured.

Berklee is grateful that Mrs. Peck has chosen to dramatically expand the number of scholarship opportunities available to students enrolled at Berklee by naming the college a beneficiary of a lead charitable trust. The gift is expected to generate over $100,000 per year for a 15-year period. The fund will be used to provide scholarships for students who possess potential for musical growth.


From the left: Lee Wilson, Amos Marerra, and Katherine Hardy, performing at the Berklee City Music Blowout Concert in August 2000
Photo by Bob Kramer

The Theodore R. & Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship Foundation is a private, family foundation created in 1991 to provide scholarships and grants to students demonstrating financial need for college tuition. The Foundation helps students acquire skills and develop strengths that will enable them to realize their potential. By so doing, they can become positive, contributing members of their community and its economy.

Mr. Johnson and his wife of 52 years, Vivian Chesley Macleod Johnson, place great value on the importance of education in helping people to achieve economic success. Mr. Johnson, who worked his way through college and obtained his M.B.A. degree at night school, joined United Parcel Service at an early age, starting as a time-and-motion-study engineer. As the company grew, he assumed positions of greater responsibility, culminating in his appointment as vice president of labor relations. Through the establishment of the foundation, the Johnsons seek to share their prosperity so that future generations of students can gain the skills equipping them to embark on successful careers.

Berklee is grateful for the foundation's leadership in embracing the Berklee City Music Program which provides educational opportunities for disadvantaged urban youth. The Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Foundation's trustees and staff visited Berklee and observed ensemble and vocal training classes, met participants, and developed a strong working relationship to ensure that they are full and equal partners in this program. They have demonstrated their commitment to the success of the young people in the program by investing in all aspects of Berklee City Music. They seek to expand scholarships to the 5-Week Summer Performance Program and the City Music Saturday and after school programs, fund the Essentials For Success Class, which builds strong study habits for college students, provide seed money to attract middle and elementary school students to the City Music Saturday and after school program, and double the number of four-year, full-tuition scholarships offered to students graduating from the Berklee City Music Program.

The Johnson Foundation has invested $200,000 in the program to date. They have also provided advice, encouragement, and shown a keen interest in learning how their support can lead to the success of the young people in the program. Berklee is proud of its partnership with the Theodore R. & Vivian M. Johnson Foundation and is grateful for their commitment to making opportunities available for talented young musicians from urban areas.

--Marjorie O'Malley

Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement