The people behind the names that grace our campus

Bonisteel, Fennell, and Seabury

Roscoe Osmond Bonisteel was born in 1888. He attended Dickenson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Law School at the University of Michigan. He began the practice of law in Ann Arbor in 1912. His law practice flourished and led to the founding of an insurance company, real estate development firm, and seats on boards of directors of local banks. Bonisteel served with distinction as a Captain in the US Army Air Forces in World War I and gave  time upon his return to the American Legion. He was District Governor of Rotary and a Board member of the University Musical Society of Ann Arbor. A devoted family man, he married Lillian Coleman Rudolph in 1914 and had four daughters and a son. Bonisteel became a Regent of the University of Michigan in 1946, serving until 1972. A staunch friend of libraries and museums, he founded the Friends’ Society of the Michigan Historical Collections, which later led to the Bentley Historical Library and the expansion of the largest collection of library works at a public university. Bonisteel served on Interlochen's Board of Trustees for many years, six as its chair, and gave the initial gift that created the Roscoe O. Bonisteel Library at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Legendary conductor Frederick Fennell was a former Interlochen camper and longtime summer faculty member and guest conductor at Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy. Dr. Fennell was widely regarded as the leader of the wind ensemble movement in the US, one of America’s most recorded American classical conductors, and a pioneer in innovative methods of recording. He was an Interlochen camper from 1931 to 1933, and returned in 1935 as a staff member before joining the summer faculty. He served as faculty and guest conductor countless times at Interlochen, most recently during Interlochen Arts Camp 2004, when he conducted the World Youth Symphonic Band. Born July 2, 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio, Frederick Fennell earned bachelors and masters degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music. He became a member of the Eastman conducting faculty in 1939, founded the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1952, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastman in 1988.His conducting appearances are numerous and span the decades, as do his honors and accolades. Fennell was presented the Star of the Order in 1985 from the John Philip Sousa Memorial Foundation, and was the initial recipient of the Medal of the International Percy Grainger Society for Distinguished Services in 1991. Frederick Fennell Hall was dedicated in his honor in Kofu, Japan in 1992. The music wing of the Roscoe O. Bonisteel Library is named in honor of Fennell and his wife, Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell.

The other wing of the Bonisteel Library is the John W. & Charlene B. Seabury Academic Library. The Seaburys were a prominent Chicago-area couple who met and summered near Interlochen. Mrs. Seabury's father had served on Interlochen's Advisory Board, and she was a member of the Interlochen Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1996. Both John and Charlene Seabury served as board members for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Aaron DeRoy (1880-1935) was prominent in the automotive industry, and Helen L. DeRoy (1882-1977) was a leader in community affairs and philanthropic endeavors throughout the Detroit area. Helen DeRoy began her charitable work before World War II, helping people in Europe.  She set up her first formal foundation in 1946, and when she died in 1977, the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation was founded.  Her interests were in helping programs that improve the quality of life—including education and the arts—primarily in the greater metro Detroit area. Through her friend Julius Chayies, who was a conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, her interest in Interlochen was furthered.  The foundation began supporting Interlochen in the mid-1980s.


Although never an Interlochen student, John Melvin enjoys some very deep Interlochen roots. Eighty years ago, his grandfather, for whom he is named, helped build the centerpiece of Joe Maddy's new camp---the Interlochen Bowl. Later, his father, Dale Melvin, worked in Interlochen's Maintenance Department. And today, John Melvin carries on his family tradition of building and improving Interlochen through financial support. "I remember listening to concerts when I fished on Green Lake, but I took it for granted," he said. With time, however, came a growing appreciation for the vital role that the arts play in shaping culture and children's lives. "We have a tendency to overlook the need for encouragement and recognition in gifted youth. Interlochen is a great environment for learning," explained Melvin. "And it's a catalyst for cultural exchange for youth from around the world."

With a granddaughter in Camp, Melvin and his wife felt it was their turn to help build Interlochen and solidify its future through financial support. And because Interlochen Center for the Arts honors those who help improve and maintain the campus, the Melvins were pleased when the Arts Commons was renamed the John and Mary Melvin and Family Arts Commons. "It's a very fitting place for us and our family, a peaceful, pleasing place. Occasionally you have to stop and smell the roses."


Dr. Mark Osterlin was one of Traverse City's best-known and most prominent citizens. A mentor, an innovator, and an advocate for children, he served as director of Munson Medical Center's Children's Clinic and was the guiding force behind the founding of what is now Child and Family Services of Northwest Michigan. He was one of the first trustees of Northwest Michigan College, and served Interlochen for decades in a variety of roles, including Treasurer and Medical Director. Upon his death in 1960, Dr. Osterlin's wife joined the Interlochen Board of Trustees, which she served until her death in 1996. Beloved for her many contributions to the continued success of Interlochen, Helen Osterlin was instrumental in stabilizing Interlochen Public Radio in its early years and organizing its Advisory Board. The Osterlin Garden and the Osterlin Wishing Well are just two of the many gracious features of Osterlin Mall.

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