CCM announced the receipt of a $1 million donation, bequeathed from the late Betty Jean (Seeger) Dannenfelser. The gift – which came as a surprise to CCM faculty and staff – will be used to establish a student scholarship fund and enhance CCM faculty support.

“The soon-to-be-established Clifford R. and Betty J. Dannenfelser Memorial Scholarship will permit CCM to recruit many generations of the very best students and attract top-notch faculty, allowing CCM to maintain its international reputation as one of the world’s leading conservatories,” said Peter Landgren, dean of CCM.

He added, “Through her generosity, she has made a lasting statement about the importance of the performing and media arts and their value to our community and beyond.”

Dannenfelser’s gift is an extension of her longtime patronage of the local arts. A retired executive secretary for Procter & Gamble, she and her husband Cliff – a former interior decorator – often attended performances by CCM, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Pops. They also ushered at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

In addition to their love of the arts, Dannenfelser and her husband were committed to – in her words – “making the world a better place.” Together, the Dannenfelsers volunteered in their parish, Guardian Angels Church, served the less fortunate in local soup kitchens and, although they never had children of their own, made their house a home to several foreign exchange students over the years.

According to Dean Landgren, unexpected but important gifts often grow from personal interests and service to others. “Betty Dannenfelser will become an important part of our tradition of excellence and the future of CCM,” he said. “She was an extraordinary woman and her wish ‘to make this world a better place’ will certainly be fulfilled here at CCM.”

Dannenfelser’s gift also counts toward UC’s $1 billion Proudly Cincinnati campaign, which has raised more than $839 million in private support for the university. For more information about how to support CCM and other university fundraising priorities, please visit

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