John Turner and Jerry Fischer’s Gift to LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts is Largest in College’s History, a Standout Nationwide

BATON ROUGE – John Turner and Jerry Fischer have made a historic gift to strengthen the vitality of the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts’ renowned opera program and on-campus recital hall. LSU Opera, established in 1931 as one of the country’s first major opera programs at a university, is now one of only a handful of named university opera programs. Turner and Fischer’s $4 million investment, the largest gift in the college’s history, creates the John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer Center for Opera at LSU and will enable the renovation of the LSU School of Music Recital Hall—including the addition of the Paula G. Manship Concert Organ—to create a world-class facility for educating high-level artists who have a global impact.

Turner and Fischer have demonstrated their commitment to the fine arts by supporting opera programs worldwide, including the Houston Grand Opera and programs in Santa Fe, New York, Germany and London. Within the College of Music & Dramatics Arts alone, they have made gifts to 20 initiatives and created several funds specifically dedicated to the success of LSU Opera: an endowed scholarship through which they have supported more than 50 students, a fellowship, a support fund for productions and a general endowment.

“The LSU School of Music is highly regarded for its excellence, and for being home to one of the first university opera programs in the country. As passionate supporters of the arts, we look forward to personally experiencing the impact this gift will have on the development of student artists and the performances they contribute locally and to the world,” said Turner and Fischer.

Turner and Fischer’s generosity will give the College of Music & Dramatic Arts flexibility to respond to LSU artists’ evolving needs by providing unrestricted, endowed support to LSU Opera and renovating the college’s most-used performance space, which hosts more than 300 performances annually. In 1999, Paula Manship gave the LSU School of Music

$1 million for the design, construction and installation of a concert organ. Her vision was to offer students a world-class instrument on which to practice and perform. Turner and Fischer’s gift will soon make that vision a reality, creating a permanent home for the Paula G. Manship Concert Organ in the soon-to-be renovated School of Music Recital Hall.

Turner, a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, and Fischer, an LSU alumnus, have made LSU a philanthropic priority for more than two decades. Their generosity extends campus-wide, focused on the College of Music & Dramatic Arts and including the LSU AgCenter, College of Art & Design, College of the Coast & Environment, College of Human Sciences & Education, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Museum of Art, Museum of Natural Science and School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation.

Todd Queen, dean of the College of Music & Dramatic Arts, said, “John and Jerry are visionary philanthropists who exemplify the transformational power of passion meeting purpose. Their leadership within the College of Music & Dramatic Arts began with volunteer roles on our Patrons of the LSU Opera Board. In the 20 years since then, they have consistently invested in our people and productions, preparing our students to work alongside the industry’s best on stages worldwide and enabling us to continue to attract and retain the most outstanding faculty in the industry.”

Gifts like Turner and Fischer’s advance arts and culture, helping LSU lead Louisiana and impact the world.




Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations

Cullen Sadler
LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts

Sara Whittaker
LSU Foundation