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Jeannie and Tom Flesch with members of the marching band
UW-Eau Claire alumni Tom and Jeannie Flesch with members of the Blugold Marching Band (UW-Eau Claire photo by Bill Hoepner)

Alumni Couple Donate $50,000
to Blugold Marching Band

RELEASED: Nov. 20, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumni couple has donated $50,000 to the Blugold Marching Band to become the first Blugold Marching Band patrons. Tom Flesch of Powell, Ohio, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1974 with degrees in business administration and economics, and his wife, Jeannie, received her bachelor of science degree in education in 1973. Tom, president and CEO of Gordon Flesch Co. Inc., and Jeannie both serve on the UW-Eau Claire Foundation board of directors.

A portion of the Fleschs' gift will sponsor the marching band's trip to Rome, where on New Year's Day 2008 the band will play in St. Peter's Square for Pope Bendict XVI and an expected audience of 100,000 people. Additionally, the gift will help the band purchase additional uniforms to accommodate its rapid growth and for travel expenses to other venues. Currently, the Blugold Marching Band is the largest Division III marching band in the country.

"The Fleschs' generous gift is a landmark in the growth and development of the Blugold Marching Band," Randal Dickerson, associate professor of music and the conductor of the Blugold Marching Band, said. "Since 2000, the band has grown from a low of 60 members to more than 200 today. This gift will help us sustain our growth and continue to provide expanded opportunities for all of our members. We are so grateful."

In 2006 the Blugold Marching Band gave 10 performances, including four Blugold home football games and exhibitions at the Minneapolis Metrodome, Irondale High School and Chippewa Falls High School. The band's schedule has included NFL games, festivals and stage shows.

"Tom and Jeannie's investment in one of the university's signature programs provides greatly needed resources for growth. It also creates a model by which we can reach out to other Blugold alumni and reconnect them to their alma mater," Kimera Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, said. "Tom and Jeannie are a wonderful example of the many Blugold couples who have strong connections to UW-Eau Claire and who are willing to give back to ensure the university's future."

The Fleschs' gift is recognized as a contribution to Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation's comprehensive campaign to benefit the university's people and programs. The campaign has now surpassed $52 million.

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KH

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