Meet Dr. Saroj Sutaria: Supporter and Friend of the School of Music
When Dr. Saroj Sutaria retired from the Kent State University College of Education faculty in 1992, she began to seek out new ways to become involved with the community at Kent State and, more broadly, in Northeast Ohio. It was then that she learned of the opportunities to become involved with the College of the Arts and, particularly, the School of Music. A long-time lover of Western classical music, she was thrilled to find a plethora of high-quality recitals and concerts in her own back yard. She’s been attending as many as she can ever since. In 2009, she established the Dr. Saroj Sutaria Scholarship in Music, which has since supported the studies of two pianists.
Coming up on April 13, 2019, she will participate in a new way: by making her debut as a conductor! She is the winner of the 2018 Conduct the Orchestra Auction, held annually at Evening with the Orchestra and hosted by the Kent State Orchestra Society. After spending a couple of months working with Dr. Jungho Kim, Director of Orchestra at Kent State, she’ll lead the Kent State University Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s Overture to“Marriage of Figaro” and Strauss’s “Radetzky March.”
Recently, we sat down with Saroj to talk about her experiences with the School of Music. Read excerpts from the interview below!
Question: Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Saroj Sutaria: I’m originally from India, the fifth of ten children. I hold a BA from Nagpur University (Nagpur, India) and an MA in Sociology from Bombay University (now University of Mumbai, India). It was then I came to the US and earned my Doctorate of Education from Syracuse University in New York.
Q: What was your first impression of the School of Music?
SS: Honestly, I’m not sure I formed one. However, I continue to be impressed by the caliber of the faculty, both in performance and as a people. They are very friendly and genuinely enjoy talking to the audience. I feel very fortunate to live in such close proximity for easy and frequent access.
Q: As a long-time supporter of the School and attendee of many events, you’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people. Can you share some of those experiences?
SS: Of course! Dr. Jane Dressler, the current Interim Director, is one of the nicest and gentlest people I’ve met. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her as the Interim Director. I’ve come to know and developed a deep respect for former directors of the School as well as many current and retired faculty members. Each one has been incredibly friendly and has shown appreciation for my interest in the School. Plus, they seem to enjoy having me at their events!
Q: You mentioned that you support and work with other organizations, both on and off campus.
SS: Yes! At Kent State, I’m involved with the College of Education, College of the Arts, the Commencement Committee, Kent State Retiree Association, Kent State Libraries, the Kent State Orchestra Society, and the Kent State Museum.
Off-campus, I’m involved with the Kent Free Library, Reed Memorial Library, United Way of Portage County, Coleman Professional Services, NE Ohio Medical University, Syracuse University, Phi Delta Kappa, and several others.
Q: What would you say to someone else who is thinking of becoming involved with the School?
SS: Frankly, I don’t believe in influencing anyone and think everyone needs to decide for themselves. If someone is thinking about donating, however, I would encourage them by pointing out some of the benefits to the School and its students.