Couple calls CU's music college 'an incredible gift' to the community

Mike and Mikhy Ritter

Mike and Mikhy Ritter believe the College of Music is a gift to the community, and their gift ensures its continuation.

Michele "Mikhy" Ritter and her husband, Mike, were both New York City transplants when they met as CU Boulder students in the 1980s. Over the years, they have become a one-couple cheer squad for the College of Music at CU Boulder.

Mikhy is the current chair of the college's Advisory Board, the two endowed the Ritter Family Classical Guitar Program in 2014, and they have helped lead the college's music+ campaign along with campaign chair Becky Roser. That included rallying the board in pursuit of the $1.6 million capital component that was matched by Chancellor Philip DiStefano in late 2018.

With help from the Gift Planning team, the couple also chose to make a bequest that will help increase the size of the classical guitar program endowment, which provides general support and student scholarships. Endowments are gifts that last forever and generate reliable support for the university for generations to come.

"The College of Music is an incredible gift to the community," Mikhy says. "And the word is out."

When Mike and Mikhy crossed paths their senior year at CU—Mikhy, a physical anthropology and history student who had studied abroad with a program run by the College of Music, and Mike, a biotechnology student who had never heard of the college—it was on a blind date set up by Mikhy's roommate.

From there, they began to write the symphony of their lives together.

Four sons and one adopted daughter later, the Ritters got involved at the College of Music in 1999, largely at the hand of former Dean Daniel Sher. The Ritters say that to see the progress of the college and to see the Imig Building expansion is acknowledgement of something they've known for years.

"Next to athletics, music is the connection to the community," Mike says. "When we first started going to Faculty Tuesdays, depending on the night, the audience might be a third full. Now, it's standing room only."

Continues Mikhy, "I think it's acknowledgement of the fact that the College of Music is the gem on the Boulder campus. It was the quiet gem for a lot of years. But it's the gateway to the community."

Like the Ritters, you can support the programs you care about in perpetuity through a gift in your estate plan. To learn more, contact the Office of Gift Planning at (303) 541-1229 or giftplanning@cu.edu.

A longer version of this story originally published on Dec. 3, 2019. Read it here.