The fulfilment of fund-raising commitments to qualify for state aid that was legislated earlier this year saves the Peabody Institute, at least for this round of several years, and puts it in a stronger position to face the challenges of the late Nineties. A large sigh of relief is in order. One of the nation's finest conservatories of music really might have died. And it really didn't.
Although the requirement of raising $15 million in five-year pledges by Sept. 15 seemed an impossibility for the midsummer, in a regional business recession, it was met. That the Johns Hopkins University trustees committed their unrestricted endowment to make up what was missing, on the order of $2.7 million, shows their faith that this won't be needed. The campaign is going so strong that the whole $15 million is almost certain to come in from new sources, leaving the university endowment untapped for this purpose. But this pledge demonstrates the university's total commitment to the future of the conservatory, which should have a positive effect on other donors.
The Peabody can now get on about the business of training its share of the world's most promising young musicians, and raising a much larger endowment at a more relaxed and confident pace. With new library and practice rooms, it is better endowed physically for the job. It still needs other improvements, but the suspense concerning its continued existence is over. This outcome is a testament to the enthusiasm of Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg and the wisdom of the General Assembly in passing the complicated plan for state, university and private aid of which this fund-raising is a part. Their faith has been justified.