BY: Kenta Joseph | Published: January 25, 2023 | 10:20 AM | See original story at news.fsu.edu
After a rich career as an educator and musician, a Florida State University alumna and orchestra teacher will have a permanent honor at the FSU College of Music after 50 years of teaching.
The Dorothy Flory Holroyd Ensemble Room will stand as a tribute to Dorothy Flory Holroyd, whose vision and commitment to music education have had a lasting impact on her students. Flory Holroyd started her career in music education as the director of Florida High’s Orchestra and Orchestra Club in the late 1950s. A former student is making a gift of $1 million to the College of Music in her honor.
“It is amazing to know that sixty-five years after Dorothy taught at Florida High, she continues to inspire her students,” said Todd Queen, dean of the College of Music. “This heartwarming gift is a testament to the power of education and how one single teacher can positively affect so many.”
Through five decades, Flory Holroyd taught hundreds of string students, many of whom later filled principal chairs in district, regional and state orchestras. She was more than a music teacher. She taught theory, technique and life lessons sprinkled with laughter, her students say, recalling the pranks she would often play in their classroom. Flory Holroyd hoped her students would see music as a gift to bring joy, color and beauty into their lives.
She cared deeply for her students, along with her love of music itself. Flory Holroyd was first trained as a violinist. However, once introduced to the viola, it became her greatest love. In addition to teaching, Flory Holroyd was a successful performer, including her time as principal violist for the York Symphony and as a member of the Colonial String Quartet. Now retired at 92, Flory Holroyd continues to play her beloved viola with the orchestra at her church in York, Pennsylvania.
The generous gift comes from Flory Holroyd’s former violin student Jim Miller. Miller was the inaugural president of Florida High’s Orchestra Club, which Flory Holroyd founded and directed in 1957. The club was one of many talented music groups at the high school but was noted as the “most outstanding” for public performance.
“I am truly overwhelmed with this honor,” Flory Holroyd said at the news of the gift. “I was so touched when Jim called and said he had thought of me often. I guess one never knows how much a teacher influences his or her students.”
The gift will allow the College of Music to make acoustic improvements and other renovations to its large ensemble room and improve additional rehearsal spaces in the Housewright Music Building, benefiting current and future generations of music students and instructors.
“I trust that the Ensemble Room will be a valuable resource to FSU music students,” Flory Holroyd said. “I am indeed honored by his kind and generous gift.”
Miller said, “Dorothy took me to my first opera in 1955. I’m still going and ever more grateful. Music and Botany at Florida High shaped my life.”
Miller and Flory Holroyd will celebrate the gift with their families at an upcoming reunion on FSU’s campus and at Goodwood Museum and Gardens in Tallahassee.