By Megan Lupo
While Rider is in the midst of renovations to improve its Lawrenceville campus, it will be parting ways with its Princeton campus by the end of this academic school year.
Throughout this transitional period, Larry Livingston, the project manager hired in January 2018 to serve as a consultant for the buying process, was appointed interim president of the newly established Westminster Choir College Acquisition Corportation (WCCAC) until the planned date of June 30, 2019 when Rider will stop operating Westminster Choir College (WCC), according to the WCCAC news release.
Assistant Vice President for University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown said that Kaiwen Education established WCCAC as a nonprofit entity to run WCC after the transaction is complete. The name WCCAC will be changed to WCC once the college becomes independent.
Working with several stakeholders to create the smoothest transition possible, Livingston said that he “agreed to take on the role of project manager, now interim president, with every intention to preserve the renowned reputation of WCC and to help guide it to a viable academic, artistic and financial future.”
Brown, who has been working closely with Livingston, acknowledged both the criticism and support and is taking all comments into account. Livingston also encouraged those to make their voice known to him and “wants to hear from all constituents— faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends of Westminster,” said Brown.
Livingston will be making several visits to Princeton throughout this academic year.
Brown said that one of Livingston’s priorities is meeting with the students. When he’s not physically on campus, she advised those with concerns to email him.
“We would encourage [the Westminster community] to engage with Larry when he’s here. He, also, has an email address. He’s reading every message that comes in,” Brown said. “He’s really looking to be a part of the community, so I would encourage everyone who has questions, concerns, messages of support, ideas that they want to express to him, certainly be in touch with him.”
With Livingston’s role going from project manager to interim president, Brown saw it as “an actual progression” and was confident that he will serve in the best interest of the Westminster community.
“They should feel confident that Larry is leading the process for the buyer for the transition. He has an amazing and a very distinguished background,” Brown said. “And I can tell you personally, I have firsthand witnessed his passion and his commitment to this process. He has no other motivation except to see Westminster survive and thrive.”
Livingston, who has served as vice president and music director of the New England Conservatory of Music, dean of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, has made a 25-year career out of transforming multiple struggling schools of music into flourishing ones.
Livingston said that each of the institutions he has worked with had their own challenges and assets, yet, through careful evaluation, communication and community engagment, he has “raised a little over $200 million, including a naming gift for the Thornton School, hired hundreds of faculty, helped create and launch myriad new curricula and led major expansions of facilities” for all the colleges.
“I am very positive about the transaction and see it as WCC’s chance to develop and flourish,” Livingston said. “While I understand the concerns that have been raised, I hope and believe that those who are skeptical of this opportunity will come to realize that, in fact, this is the only road forward and it is in the best interest of WCC now to embrace it.”
To get in touch with Larry Livingston, email him at at email@example.com