Viterbo University Strides Magazine Online

Alumna Receives Honorary Degree 

Cyrilla Barr ’56 became the first lay graduate to receive an honorary degree from Viterbo University. Barr, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at spring commencement, advanced the world’s understanding of women’s roles as early patrons of music and made significant contributions to the world of musicology through her research on Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. 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.