The name Rudi Scheidt is music to the ears of many at the University of Memphis – literally. In June 2000, Rudi and Honey Scheidt gave the largest gift ever in the history of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. Accordingly, the music department was re-named the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, and the gift elevated the department to a new level, reviving the opera program and allowing the school to recruit and retain top faculty for its more than 500 music students from around the world.
However, June 2000 was not the first time Memphis heard the Scheidt name. A retired cotton industry executive, Rudi and Honey have long been known for their major contributions to the arts. In 1985, they were instrumental in bringing the “Ramses the Great” exhibition to Memphis, kicking off the city’s continued interest in such grand-scale art events.
The Scheidts are constantly involved in the arts, helping to produce local films, serving on committees and boards of such organizations as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis College of Art, Opera Memphis and the Memphis Arts Festival. In May 2001, the State of Tennessee stepped forward to award them the highest honor given to arts supporters – the Governor’s Award for Arts Leadership.
Major international cotton firm
“‘It is the spirit that motivates, it is the product that energizes.”
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