Malone University has recently received a gift of $1 million from the estate of Ann Leech, a longtime donor with a lifelong interest in fine arts and music. Leech, who was 94 at the time of her passing on March 20, 2016, was a loyal donor to Malone for the past 50 years and directed her estate gift to support enhancements within the University’s music program including physical improvements, the purchase of equipment including Steinway pianos, and an endowment to support operations and activities related to music.
Born in Oxford, Ohio, Leech was active with music since the age of 10 when she began playing the violin. She attended Miami University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and played as first chair of the violin section of the Miami Concert Band.
Leech moved to Canton in 1943 and for many years worked as a secretary for Canton City Schools. She was an avid supporter of the fine arts programs at Malone University and attended many concerts and cultural events. Additionally, Leech volunteered with several church organizations and was a regular leader of bible studies in her church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Nicholson, who died in 1950.
“We’re deeply honored to receive this gift in support of our music programs,” said Malone University President David King. “Ann has been a part of the Malone family for many years and this gift from her estate will have long-lasting impact on the education and co-curricular experiences offered to Malone students.”
“As a faculty member it is humbling to learn of Ann’s enormous generosity and kindness of spirit,” said Michael Benson, associate professor of music and chair of the Department of Music and Visual Arts. “We’re very proud of our music programs and it is rewarding to know that the experiences Ann had through the years with our programs, faculty, and students had such a positive impact on her life. We will honor her memory by offering high quality programs and performances that can be enjoyed by everyone in Northeast Ohio.”
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