Steve Lipman Retires after Four Decades

  Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Steve Lipman retired August 31 after 40 years of service at Berklee.
  Photo by Phil Farnsworth


After 40 years of distinguished service to Berklee, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Steven Lipman retired in August. Working under the college's three presidents over the course of four decades, Lipman has labored tirelessly to bring the best musicians to the college and raise Berklee's profile domestically and internationally.

In 1966, Lipman began his longtime association with the college when he enrolled as a music-education major. After his graduation in 1969, Lipman worked as a public-school music teacher for a year and a half when he got a call from Berklee founder Lawrence Berk.

"Larry Berk said, 'I think you need to come in,'" Lipman recalls. "'Berklee is on an upwardly mobile path. Our enrollment is going to mushroom. It's going to be a world-class institution, and I think you'd want to be along for the ride.'" So in 1970, Lipman joined the staff to assist the dean of students in creating schedules for faculty and students. Simultaneously he served as a part-time faculty member teaching harmony, ear training, and ensembles. Lipman later helped Berklee set up an admissions office to handle the increasing number of applications.

For years Lipman processed applications and sent acceptance letters to prospective students. "It was a long and exciting period of identifying great talent and watching that talent blossom and grow," he says. In the course of his work, Lipman sent acceptance letters to such notable alumni as Kevin Eubanks, Melissa Etheridge, Juan Luis Guerra, Branford Marsalis, and Steve Vai, to name just a few. Lipman was also instrumental in launching the Berklee Alumni Representative (BAR) program, which organized alumni representatives' visits to high schools and conferences. In conjunction with Gary Burton and Larry Monroe, Lipman launched the Berklee International Network (BIN) of music schools in various countries. Lipman also helped to promote awareness of Berklee by connecting the college with the Grammy in the Schools Program and by establishing the summer concert series Vineyard Vibes on Martha's Vineyard.

"Steve was my first boss," recalls Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students Larry Bethune. "I've had the pleasure of working with him for 40 years and know how much he helped shape the school through his recruitment expertise. It's hard to imagine Berklee without him."

During the 45 years since he was a student, Lipman has seen many changes take place. "Today, Berklee students are interested in student clubs, of which there are probably 50 or 60," he says. "There's a student government, a student newspaper, and two student-run record labels. There's also a full complement of academic offerings. There is a far more collegial environment today at Berklee than when I was a student."

Being in the middle of explosive growth at Berklee was professionally fulfilling for Lipman. "I was enormously fortunate," he says. "This is an example of being at the right place at the right time. It has been a very rewarding career. I found it easy to be passionate every single day."

For an in-depth interview with Steve Lipman, visit click here.