Remembering Roger Jacobi


April 7, 1924 Saginaw, Michigan -- November 4, 2012 Farmington Hills, Michigan

Roger E. Jacobi studied at The University of Michigan, receiving his bachelor of music degree in 1948 and master of music degree in 1951. His entire professional life was dedicated to music and arts education. Roger was associated with the Ann Arbor Public Schools as a teacher of music from 1948-1956, and as music coordinator from 1959-1968. In rapid succession he added summers on the Interlochen staff, teaching at the University of Michigan, directing its popular annual Midwestern Conference and planning the new School of Music building on North Campus, and active participation in state and national arts education associations. Roger rose in rank at the University from lecturer in 1957, to assistant professor in 1959, associate professor in 1963, and professor in 1966. He was also a lecturer in the School of Education from 1959-1971. Roger became associate dean of the School of Music in 1971, a position he held briefly prior to his appointment to the presidency at Interlochen.

Roger served Interlochen beginning in 1953 as head of the program office for the National Music Camp, which eventually became Interlochen Center for the Arts. From 1956 through 1959 he was personnel director for the Camp and secretary to the board of trustees. He led the Intermediate Training (Cadet) Orchestra 1957-1965, directed the University Division at Camp 1969-1971, and served as Interlochen’s third President for 18 years, 1971-1989.

In accepting the presidency five years after the death of Interlochen’s founder, Roger gave stability and direction to an institution struggling to balance the traditions of the 45-year-old Camp with the adventurous 10-year-old Arts Academy. At the same time he developed a balanced budget that provided a period of reassurance for anxious trustees. He took on the challenges of constructing Corson Auditorium (1975) and Dendrinos Chapel/Recital Hall (1981) and the introduction of jazz to the Camp curriculum in 1972. The Creative Writing program was added as a discipline in 1975. One of Roger’s greatest memories was hosting President Gerald Ford at a High School Symphonic Band concert in his honor in July 1975.

Roger’s wife, Mary Jane Jacobi passed on June 23, 2011. Roger is survived by his children, Rev. Martha S. Jacobi (James Carter Cathcart) of New York, New York and Richard "Rick" Jacobi (Kathlynn Jacobi) of Ferndale, Michigan; by his grandchildren Jonathan Jacobi (Amanda) of Portland, Michigan, Stephanie Roche (Scot) of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Jesse Jacobi, of Ferndale, Michigan; and by his great-grandson, Liam Jacobi.

Roger and Mary Jane’s legacy will live on with the Roger E. and Mary Jane Jacobi Camp and Academy scholarships, and the Roger E. and Mary Jane Jacobi Citizenship Award given at each Academy graduation to an outstanding senior citizen leader.

Services will be held Saturday, November 10, at 12:00 noon at Zion Lutheran Church, 143 Albany Street, Ferndale, Michigan. A Dixieland musical prelude precedes the service, beginning at 11:45 am. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Roger E. and Mary Jane Jacobi Citizenship Award Scholarship Fund, in care of Interlochen Center for the Arts. A memorial service will take place on the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts in the summer of 2013.