VanderCook College of Music is currently engaged in a capital campaign to Meet the Challenge.  Keith Mardak, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Hal Leonard LLC of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has presented VanderCook with the largest donor gift in its history.  The $2.5M challenge gift requires the college to raise an equal amount from other donors, with all funds designated to help VanderCook complete renovation of its performance center.

Keith Mardak, CEO and Chairman of the Board, 
Hal Leonard LLC of Milwaukee, WI

Phase I of the Inspire. Build. Sustain. capital campaign began five years ago and included classrooms, teaching studios, practice rooms and storage areas.  Approximately half of the 22,500-square-foot space has been renovated and is currently in use.  The focal point of Phase II - the main area that will become the performance hall for concerts and events - remains ahead, and is contingent upon the college successfully meeting Mardak's challenge.

Main performance area to be completed in Phase II

The performance center will not only accommodate the growing needs of the college's students, but it will also allow VanderCook to play a larger role in the community and increase its outreach to school music programs in Chicago and around the globe. Once completed, Phase II will provide a second large classroom, a percussion studies area, additional teaching/practice areas, student lockers and storage areas.

The college has never had a greater need than it does now.  In order to provide our students the educational facilities they need and deserve, and to meet the needs of our curriculum, we must expand, upgrade and enhance VanderCook’s current campus. 

To learn more about this project, please contact Dr. Charles T. Menghini, president emeritus, at 312.788.1129 or

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288