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April 25, 2001


LA CROSSE, Wis.— Cyrilla Barr, a 1956 graduate of Viterbo University whose scholarly contributions have advanced the world’s understanding of women’s roles as early patrons of music, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Human Letters during Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 13 at the La Crosse Center.

The first lay graduate to receive an honorary doctorate from Viterbo, Barr made significant contributions to the world of musicology through her research on Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, an early patron of the arts. Her journal articles led to a monograph; a full-length biography, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge: American Patron of Music, published by Schirmer Books; and a book on women patrons of music, Cultivating Music in America, co-authored with Ralph Locke.

After graduating from Viterbo, she received her master’s degree in musicology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison before returning to teach at Viterbo from 1957-61. She received a doctoral degree in musicology with a minor in medieval and renaissance history from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1965 and returned to teach again and serve as chair of the Music Department at Viterbo from 1965-74. From 1974-75, she studied as an I Tatti Fellow at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy and returned to the U.S. to teach at Catholic University of America in 1975, where she served as chairperson of the musicology department in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music until retiring in 1999. She is a former Fulbright scholar and received Viterbo’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 1983 and has twice received the Outstanding Teacher Award from Catholic University.

Also at this year’s spring commencement, which begins at 10 a.m., Earl Madary ’88, President of the Faculty Assembly, will be the master of ceremonies; Brian Konkol ’01 will present the senior address, and Cindy Quade ’77 will give the alumni welcome.  Laurian Pieterek, FSPA, a retiring professor of philosophy, will be named Professor Emerita.  The benediction will be given by Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Bishop to the Diocese of La Crosse.

Viterbo University is a four-year, co-educational, liberal arts college in La Crosse, Wis. It was founded more than a century ago by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

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