Fairhope Couple Donates Steinway Grand Piano to University of Mobile
UM Nears Goal of Becoming All-Steinway School
MOBILE, Ala. – A Steinway grand piano built in 1924 has a new home at University of Mobile, thanks to a donation from a couple in Fairhope, Alabama.
Melinda and Louis Mapp donated his grandparents’ 6-foot 2-inch Model A Steinway with satin mahogany finish to the Christian university’s “All Steinway, All Together” campaign. The university is close to its goal of raising $518,000 to replace all of the university’s pianos with Steinways and earn the prestigious designation of “All-Steinway School.”
Development Officer Tonya Gollotte said the university needs $53,000 in the next few months to complete the campaign and become an All-Steinway School. A couple from Naples, Florida, Sherry Turner and Mike Atkins, contributed a matching challenge donation of $250,000 last year to kick-start the campaign.
The Mapps learned of the university’s goal and, in addition to making a financial gift, donated their own Steinway in memory of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. L.E. Faulkner.
“We have been thinking for some time that we wanted to downsize,” Louis Mapp said. They looked for a special home for the Steinway.
“We wanted to be sure it had a home where it would be used and cared for. When we read about University of Mobile’s Steinway project, we thought that was an answer from heaven. It couldn’t be going to a better place,” Mapp said.
What made the donation even more special to the Mapps was a family connection – their daughter and two grandchildren are currently enrolled at the Christian university.
Their daughter, Leslie Dees, is returning to school to earn a nursing degree. Grandson Hayden Dees is a senior who plays on the soccer team, and granddaughter Mary Cameron Dees is a junior.
“We’ve been talking about this for several years,” Mapp said. “You know how you know something is right? This is right. Having those connections is the icing on the cake.
“It would make my grandparents feel really good. We’re thrilled,” he added.
Steinway Artist Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, associate professor of piano and co-chair of the All Steinway, All Together campaign, played the piano in the Mapp’s home before it was transported to campus. She said the piano, which was fully restored in 1967, has “a wonderful sound, a warm tone and great touch.”
University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in over 40 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.